Destigmatizing mental health in the mining industry – by Colleen Romaniuk (Northern Ontario Business – November 20, 2019)

The Mining Association of Canada estimates that the mining industry directly and indirectly employs 632,000 people throughout the country. When you look at the numbers, that means that about 126,000 workers will experience a mental health challenge every year.

Keith Hanson, area manager and director of workplace health at Lifemark Health Group, further estimates that about 10 per cent of those employees will be off work at some point. “When somebody goes on a disability claim for poor mental health, it’s usually twice as expensive as any other physical claim and also twice as long,” said Hanson.

His findings are backed by James Kruck and Jenna Kressler, researchers with Occupational Safety Group, who found that mental ill-health can cost companies between $300,000 to $40,000 annually.

“If you look at the mining industry specifically, (the mining sector is) at risk of a worker shortage in the coming years,” Hanson said. “That’s a real challenge for companies.”

Physical safety has always been a prominent discussion within the mining industry. Companies regularly assess workplace hazards and work towards creating safer environments.

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