Blog Post #899 – New Coal Mine Gets Order in Nova Scotia

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

Nova Scotia’s Department of Labour and Advanced Education issued 10 safety orders and 29 warnings to the Donkin underground coal mine, which opened in February, 2017, even though none of the Cape Breton Island mine’s violations have put workers’ lives at risk. The orders and warnings stemmed from six Department inspections between February 27th and June 15th of that year, according to a CBC News report from August 04, 2017.

Scott Nauss, the Department’s senior director of inspection and compliance, clarifies that the violations were “no surprise,” given that the Donkin mine is relatively new and that safety regulations have changed substantially.

“This is the first mine in Nova Scotia under our new underground coal-mining regulations,” says Nauss, adding that the coal mining is a high risk industry. “The province of Nova Scotia takes coal-mining safety very seriously, and it is probably the most regulated work environment in the province.”

He adds that some of the mine’s infractions were connected to training and documentation, as well as accessibility to emergency equipment, lack of approval for a piece of electrical equipment and the presence of water in emergency-exit routes. “I wouldn’t call these issues minor, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that employees’ lives are at risk either.”

Nauss describes the mine as being “very cooperative” with the Department following the orders. “Anytime we have issued an order,” he says, “the company has always complied with the order prior to its due date.”

My opinion

There is no surprise that Donkin mine is truly cooperative since the Westray mining accident came from this province which drove change at the federal level as well as provincial. I would suggest that any new coal mine anywhere in Canada, especially in Nova Scotia, would run into such scrutiny. It just makes sense.

“Due Diligence” is the phrase of the day! All companies in Canada MUST do everything reasonable in the circumstances to protect workers. If not, then hefty fines and possible jail time will be recommended to ensure compliance of and regulations.

Please ensure that your workplace is a safe place.

Remember – In Canada, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’, Mining Safety Awareness’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at 

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.


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