By Angela Gemmill
Further details have been released on the workplace incident that claimed the life of a 47-year old miner at Vale’s Coleman Mine in Levack.
The victim was working alone in a new development area yesterday afternoon on the 4215-foot level on mechanized equipment used for blasting.
The company says the fatality involved loose or displaced material from a development heading, but the exact circumstances of the accident are still under investigation.
The miner was brought to the surface and was pronounced dead by medical authorities.
Vice President of Sudbury Operations, Kelly Strong, says there are different ways rock can be displaced from the front of a ‘drift’ : either through seismic events or falls of ground.
Vale’s Critical Stress Management Team is on site at Coleman for any co-workers and friends of the employee, who may need support.
The mining company has temporarily suspended underground operations at its five local mines, affecting over 1500 workers at Coleman, Stobie, Creighton, Garson and Copper Cliff Mines.
Strong was unsure how long the shutdown would last.
This is the first time all five Vale mines in Sudbury have been shut down following one incident.
Strong says the ‘work pause’ is a chance for the company to look at what immediate actions they will take with regards to the accident and what actions will be taken for safety and operating systems at all sites.
An action plan is expected to be rolled out over the next few days.
Employees will be paid for the unexpected time off.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour is on site and once their investigators release the scene, Vale and the United Steelworkers Union will investigate.
The victim’s family has been notified, but his name will be withheld until the family has time to tell others.
Strong says the individual had 16-years experience with Vale and was highly respected by his fellow co-workers.
(Picture Above: Vale VP of Sudbury Operations, Kelly Strong explains the area in which the accident happened at Coleman Mine in Levack)