A Ministry of Labour compliance Order issued against a mining
company for allegedly failing to report an "uncontrolled fall
of ground" should not be suspended pending the outcome of the
employer's appeal of that Order, the Ontario Labour Relations
Board has decided.
The Mines and Mining Plants regulation under the Ontario
Occupational Health and Safety Act requires that an
uncontrolled fall of ground that causes damage to equipment or the
displacement of more than 50 tonnes of material must be reported to
the Ministry of Labour.
A Ministry of Labour inspector concluded that there had been a
fall of ground in a stope that caused damage to a scoop tram, and
that the employer had not reported it to the Ministry. The
inspector Ordered the employer to ensure that its supervisors were
trained in reporting falls of ground under the Regulation.
The employer appealed the Order and asked the Ontario Labour
Relations Board to suspend the operation of that Order pending the
appeal. The OLRB refused to suspend the Order, holding that
suspending the Order would likely endanger worker safety because if
accidents are not reported, the Ministry of Labour will not be able
to investigate and identify any hazards. Also, the OLRB
decided that a refusal to suspend the Order would have little
effect on the employer because the employer already provided
training to its supervisors so it would not require significant
effort to train supervisors on incident reporting.
Employers often consider appealing Ministry of Labour Orders
after an incident or accident, anticipating that the appeal is
necessary in light of possible charges under the Occupational
Health and Safety Act. The cost-benefit of filing such
appeals must be carefully considered in light of the possibility of
losing the appeal.
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