Ontario Labor Ministry Launches PPE, Mine Ventilation Blitzes

Mine inspectors are checking underground mines with large fleets of diesel equipment, while the PPE blitz targets health care workplaces, among others.

During October and November, mining inspectors from the Ontario, CN, Ministry of Labour will carry out a focused inspection program aimed at hazards involving ventilation systems at selected underground mines across the province. They will check that mine ventilation systems are being maintained and also provide an adequate supply of clean air. The inspectors also will check that diesel equipment is being properly maintained and that employers are regularly testing air quality in underground mines.

Between 2005 and 2009, 176 workers died and another 36 workers developed occupational diseases related to respiratory illnesses in the mining sector, according to claims information from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. From Jan. 1, 2009 to March 31, 2011, ministry mining inspectors issued 79 orders to underground mine operators for not providing adequate ventilation and 35 orders concerning removal of dust or other hazardous airborne material.

Another blitz announced the same day, Oct. 17, is focused on personal protective equipment at industrial and health care workplaces. Inspectors will focus on hazards involving the selection, use, and maintenance of all types of PPE at these types of workplaces:

  • Wood & metal fabrication
  • Vehicle sales and service
  • Food & beverage
  • Wholesalers
  • Education
  • Hospitals
  • Long-term care homes
  • Retirement homes

In industrial workplaces, inspectors will focus on head, eyen and foot protection, and possibly on fall, respiratory, skin, and hearing protection. In health care workplaces, inspectors will focus on head, eye, face, respiratory, hearing, hand, and foot protection for non-clinical staff in dietary, housekeeping, maintenance, central sterile supply, and laundry departments.

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