Health and Safety

Workers are a key resource for the mining industry, which takes every possible step to ensure their health and safety. The constant decline in the accident frequency rate shows how seriously companies are addressing this issue. The Québec Mining Association supports its members through its Health and Accident Prevention Committee, where participants discuss best practices in connection with occupational health and safety and the importance of healthy lifestyles in preventing accidents in mines.

The QMA has also set up a strategic workplace health and safety (WHS) committee. Its members include several senior managers from mines in Québec, and its objective is to target WHS excellence by defining strategies and setting goals to influence the mining industry through the validation and promotion, where applicable, of innovative projects with strong potential.

Mine Rescue

To improve the coordination of mine rescue operations, the Québec Mining Association has established the CATAMINE program to coordinate actions and the dispatch of equipment in an emergency. Each year, the QMA distributes an exhaustive list of individuals and equipment available. The CATAMINE Committee makes it easier for mines to provide each other with assistance if a major accident or disaster occurs. CATAMINE works with the mine rescue team at the CNESST, which trains volunteer rescuers, to draft the mine rescue training handbook (Manuel de formation en sauvetage minier), provide input for discussions, and support initiatives to improve underground rescue techniques and the equipment used by mine rescue teams.

Mining Audit Program

To encourage mining companies to follow effective health and safety practices, the QMA has set up a Mine Audit System. Companies can request an audit of their operations in six specific areas:

  • Emergency measures planning;
  • Compliance with workplace health and safety laws and regulations;
  • Emergency measures;
  • Prevention activities;
  • Ground control;
  • Occupational health and safety;
  • Mechanical and electrical maintenance.

After conducting a visit on the mine sites concerned, the auditors produce a report with recommendations for the site managers. The company then has 60 days to submit an action plan containing suitable corrective measures.

Training For Mine Workers

The Québec Mining Association has established training programs to help prevent accidents, including the modular training program for mine workers, which is compulsory in underground mines. Every worker, even a service provider, has to take the training before going underground. The twelve training modules cover working at heights, ground consolidation, explosives, and health and safety regulations.

F.J. O’Connell Trophy

Each year since 1966, the Québec Mining Association has awarded the F.J. O’Connell trophy to make workers and supervisors more aware of the importance of team work in order to prevent accidents, in three categories:

  • Underground operations, less than 400,000 hours worked;
  • Underground operations, more than 400,000 hours worked;
  • Surface, transportation and primary metals processing operations.

The criteria for the award of the trophy take into account improvements in a company’s safety record, its record compared to the industry average, and its combined accident frequency rate based on specified target values. The objective is to reward a strong performance in the field of safety.

The QMA congratulates the winners for 2015 in the following categories:

  • Underground operations, less than 400,000 hours worked: Agnico Eagle Mines - Lapa Mine
  • Underground operations, more than 400,000 hours worked: Glencore - Raglan Mine
  • Surface, transportation and primary metals processing operations: Glencore - Horne Smelter