·  The Tyee

In Wake of Mount Polley, USW Wants New Safety Regime

By David P. Ball

It took a spate of deaths in Nanaimo's coal mines to create a ministry devoted to regulating the industry in 1877. Since that era, the provincial department's authority over mine health and safety has endured -- and subsequent worker protection laws explicitly excluded mines to this day.

But after the near slaughter of workers by the Mount Polley mine tailings dam disaster this summer, the union representing many miners in B.C. is warning about worker safety in the industry.

Thirteen B.C. mine workers have been killed on the job since 2000, according to annual Chief Inspector of Mines reports. The worst year was 2006, when four died from oxygen deprivation at the Sullivan mine near Kimberley, B.C.

Over the same period, a total of 423 people were injured at mine sites, averaging 33 a year.

But the number of "health and safety orders" handed out by inspectors is staggering: 26,563 such directives were issued since 2000 in response to violations. That works out to an average of about 37 orders every week.

Complete article in The Tyee

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