West is urging the Ford government to act on diesel particulate | Daily News Byte

West is urging the Ford government to act on diesel particulate

 | Daily News Byte

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‘Ontario mines currently limit exposure to 400 mcg/mg — an amount that far exceeds the legal exposure level mandated by other provinces and by jurisdictions in the United States, Europe and Australia’

Miners in Ontario are allowed to be exposed to more diesel particulates than other provinces and jurisdictions and now the Ontario NDP is joining the United Steelworkers union in calling on the province to take action.

Sudbury MPP and NDP labor critic Jamie West gave a statement on the issue this week.

“No worker should be forced to put their health and safety at risk just by doing their job,” West said. “But the health of our miners is at risk. The research is clear: Ontario mine workers are getting ten times the recommended maximum exposure level. of diesel particulate matter (DPM).”

As USW Local 6500 detailed in a press conference earlier this month announcing their lobbying campaign to lower the DPM threshold, Ontario mines currently set exposures at 400 mcg/mg, which is higher than other jurisdictions.

At the December 8 Local 6500 press conference, Sean Staddon, the WSIB representative for Local 6500, said the main concern is that the safety limit for diesel particulate matter in Ontario is too high to be safe.

“It’s 400 micrograms per-metre-cubed is the occupational exposure limit set in the mining regulations for Ontario,” Staddon said. It asks how Ontario compares to other industrialized areas. “It’s actually the highest of all similar jurisdictions. So the United States is at 160. The European Union is at 50. Australia is at 100. We’re at four times that.”

Staddon said the recommendation from scientists is not to exceed 20 micrograms.

“So really think about that and wonder why if we have the leading mandate in Ontario to be the safest and most productive and mining, then this is one of the laws that needs to be changed,” Staddon said.

Local miners also shared their experiences working in drifts turned blue by diesel exhaust in a recent story by Sudbury.com’s sister publication NorthernOntarioBusiness.com.

West said lowering the maximum exposure levels of DPM in mines would prevent cancer and other diseases, and save lives in the process.

“The Doug Ford Conservative government must listen to miners and health and safety experts, and take immediate action to reduce maximum Diesel Particulate exposure in Ontario’s mines,” said the MPP.

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