Mining review update marks grim 5th anniversary – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – June 8, 2016)

Ontario’s chief prevention officer will be in Sudbury on Wednesday to discuss new mining regulations as well as progress on recommendations from the Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review.

George Gritziotis will speak to reporters on the fifth anniversary of the deaths of Jordan Fram, 26, and Jason Chenier, 35. The men died June 8, 2011at Vale’s Stobie Mine when they were overcome by a run of 350 tons of muck.

Investigations showed there was excess water in the 100-year-old Stobie Mine and that warnings about unsafe working conditions given by Chenier, who was a supervisor, were not heeded. Vale and one of its supervisors faced more than a dozen charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act for infractions relating to excess water and other hazards.

Charges were later dropped against the supervisor, but Vale Canada Ltd. was fined more than $1 million, one of the largest penalties levied against a company for infractions of the act.

A damning investigation report by United Steelworkers Local 6500 sparked the creation of a group called MINES (Mining Inquiry Needs Everyone’s Support). The group formed to lobby the Government of Ontario to hold a full inquiry into the deaths of the two young men. MINES was led by Wendy and Briana Fram, the mother and sister of Jordan.

Instead, the Liberal government and then Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi launched a mining review, led by Gritziotis. The position of chief prevention officer was created after a deadly scaffolding collapse in 2009 in which four men fell to their deaths. A fifth worker suffered serious injuries. Another worker, the only one properly harnessed, was left suspended in mid-air but was not injured.

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