Explosion at Greenhills mine highlights safety concerns

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April 7, 2015

VICTORIA – The explosion at Greenhills coal mine raises a number of serious questions about mine safety, say the New Democrats.

“Mine workers should be able to go to work and not get hurt,” said Norm Macdonald, New Democrat energy and mines spokesperson.

“So when the Chief Inspector of Mines commented on this latest explosion saying it is ‘not uncommon’ to have these explosions, that raises serious concerns about this government’s commitment to mine safety.”

Macdonald noted that the explosion at the East Kootenay mine on Friday which injured three people followed a 2011 burning injury and a 2010 incident in which four workers suffered smoke inhalation injuries at the same mine.

“What has the Liberal government done since the previous explosion? Why was the dust in the air not being controlled? Why was the safety of the workers not made a top priority?” asked Macdonald.

Shane Simpson, New Democrat spokesperson on labour, drew connections to the tragic loss of lives in the Lakeland sawmill explosion, saying that the undermining of workplace safety enforcement and regulation that has taken place under the Liberal government is unacceptable and needs to change.

“The person in charge of regulations should not accept that this is normal,” said Simpson. “We should have zero tolerance for working conditions that could cause harm to workers.”