Mining’s ‘good news story’ – by Len Gillis (Sudbury Star – February 19, 2017)

No one can say for certain when it happened the last time, but Ontario’s mining industry is basking in what might be the best “good news story” to come along in quite awhile. No one died in a mining accident last year in Ontario.

In all of 2016, there was not one mining fatality and Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn said everyone in the industry deserves a pat on the back because of it.

In an interview with The Daily Press, Flynn said labour leaders, mining managers and the rank-and-file workers can all take a bow for looking out for each other and for themselves. Flynn said it might have been seen as mission impossible, but now everyone knows it can be done.

“If you think in overall terms of health and safety, the message was always, you know we’ve got to reduce injuries, we’ve got to reduce fatalities. We’ll probably never get to zero, but we’ve got to keep trying.”

Flynn said it is a clear indication that the industry no longer needs to accept the idea that it cannot reach the level of zero fatalities.

“Because we just proved you can get to zero if you do the right things and pay the attention that needs to be paid in a very specific way to certain industries,” he said.

Flynn said part of the credit goes to the formal mining review that was launched three years ago to take a hard look at health and safety in the underground mining sector.

“For mining it just shows the value of cooperation, collaboration from sides that sometimes don’t work well together and kind of put those differences aside on this exercise and we did get it down to zero so the whole industry, organized labour, business, investors, our staff at the Ministry of Labour, everybody should be proud about this,” said Flynn.

He said the mining review had “a rocky start” but it brought the right people together for genuine talks about what needed to be done to save lives.

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