Blog Post #339 – Review of Mining Death in Saskatchewan

The Crown in Saskatchewan is currently reviewing an investigation file into the death of miner Cory Braaten to determine if charges will be pursued.

The review follows last December’s release of an accident investigation report to Braaten’s employer, Claude Resources Inc., says Shannon Dumba, a spokesperson for Saskatchewan Advanced Education, Employment and Labour. “The report that went to the employer identifies the cause of the incident and is aimed at preventing that type of incident from happening again,” Dumba says.

While details of both the report and full investigation file are not currently public, she notes that Saskatchewan Justice and Attorney General officials will review information in its entirety.

Last June 1, rescuers found the body of 29-year-old Braaten, who was fatally injured three days earlier at the Seabee Mine, located 125 kilometres northeast of La Ronge, Saskatchewan. He had been working alone underground on a scoop tram when he was buried in an area measuring about 100 metres long, 15 metres wide and 30 metres high.

Braaten was working in a long-hole stope, an unmanned work area that usually has only one access point. Earlier mining and blasting had filled the access point with broken ore. Rescuers had to enter through a fresh tunnel after drilling in from behind the work area.

My opinion

This particular accident happened a few years ago but the reader can connect the dots to see that there was no real plan for the work and the worker ended up alone. I do not believe he would have been any safer if there was another person nearby but that does not excuse the company of liability. All work needs to have a set of written work instructions which include as many safety procedures as possible. Pairing up in suspected dangerous circumstances would fall into this category.

If your company does not have written work procedures for each and every operation then your company is not safe and the safety culture needs to be improved. A properly trained health and safety coordinator needs to review all procedures and have the autonomy to make change. The lives of the workers then would not be placed at risk.

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP — Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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