Results to be known within weeks [Sudbury miners' deaths] – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – April 13, 2012)posted in Sudbury and General Mining Labour Issues and History, Vale |
The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
Investigation into miners’ deaths forwarded to northern director
A report on the Ministry of Labour’s investigation into the June 8, 2011, deaths of Jason Chenier and Jordan Fram at Vale’s Stobie Mine is in the hands of the ministry’s legal services branch.
Chenier, 35, and Fram, 26, were killed when they were working in the No. 7 ore pass at the 3,000-level of the mine and were struck by a run of 350 tons of muck.
Environment Ministry spokesman Matt Blajer said the ministry has completed its investigation and forwarded its findings to its northern director and to the legal branch. Whatever action, if any, comes from that report will be known within weeks. By law, the ministry has a year to investigate on-the-job deaths and lay charges.
The ministry enforces Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act and can lay charges that result in hefty fines and imprisonment.
The union representing production and maintenance workers at Vale, United Steelworkers Local 6500, is calling for more than financial penalties against Vale.
In late February, it released a 207-page report on its investigation into the deaths of the two men, in which it made dozens of recommendations.
Chief among them, USW is calling for a public inquiry into the men’s deaths and for the attorney general to investigate to determine if charges should be laid against Vale and some employees under the Westray provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada.
Labour Minister Linda Jeffrey has said the province will not act on any of the union’s recommendations until its own investigation is complete and the findings made public.
Vale released its separate investigation into the deaths of Chenier, who had 11 years with Inco and Vale, and Fram, who had worked for the company for six years, early this year. Chenier had been working as a supervisor, a non-union position, for six months before he was killed.
Vale’s investigation report made several recommendations to prevent against future fatalities, many of them involving the control of water underground and improving communications among workers.
The union says in its report that Chenier warned Vale officials two days before his death there was a water problem in the 3715 ore pass, above the 3,000-foot level where he and Fram were killed.
Chenier emailed Vale management telling it it should not be dumping or blasting ore in the air until the water situation was resolved.
USW is also calling upon the Ministry of Labour to review whether the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and its enforcement provisions, are adequately safeguarding the safety of workers in underground mines and surface mining plants in Ontario.
The maximum penalties for a contravention of the OHSA or its regulations are set out in OHSA Section 66. A successful prosecution could, for each conviction, result in a fine of up to $25,000 for an individual person and/or up to 12 months imprisonment.
For the rest of this article, please go to the Sudbury Star website: http://www.thesudburystar.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3532325