Home > News > Ontario mine rescue...

Ontario mine rescue training resumes as COVID numbers subside

Sep 3, 2020

One of Ontario's most historic safety training programs is resuming. As precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 across Ontario continue, Ontario Mine Rescue introductory and refresher training has moved to “more normal” operations according to Shawn Rideout, Chief Mine Rescue Officer. 

Surface training resumed in late August, and it is hoped underground training will resume later in the fall, Rideout said, but the province’s move into Stage 3 in July, will permit underground training to resume immediately in late August.

Starting in late August and September, all new training sessions, including cross mine site sessions, will be scheduled to be held at mine sites and involve underground activities, he said.

Site-specific COVID-19 procedures

All mine site-specific COVID-19 procedures, which may include cage or travel limitations, will be followed.  

Enhanced cleaning procedures for mine rescue substations will continue, as will the stricter washing and sanitizing procedures now required for BG4s.

Participants are still asked not to attend training if they have any COVID-19 symptoms or have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Conversations with mine rescue co-ordinators indicate they and their sites are able and willing to open to underground training, Rideout said.

Throughout the pandemic, Mine Rescue Officers and mine rescue volunteers have continued to respond promptly and effectively to emergencies.

The province’s move in mid-June into Stage 2 of re-opening meant that refresher training and introductory courses could resume at mine sites on surface, Rideout said.

But after talking with mine rescue coordinators, he said, it was decided already scheduled training would continue to be held at mine rescue stations.

There was insufficient time before refresher training slowed down for the summer to reschedule planned training to mine sites, Rideout said. 

Training at mine sites had halted in March due to the pandemic, prompting OMR to begin to develop short online refresher seminars. The seminars had not been rolled out before in-person, participatory training resumed following the Victoria Day weekend in May.

At that time, district Mine Rescue Officers resumed refresher training with restrictions at OMR stations across the province. Class sizes were limited, social isolation was required, activities were limited to the surface, and station cleaning processes were enhanced. Washing and sanitizing procedures for the BG4s were reviewed and enhanced. 

The resumption of training in late May went well, he said. The volunteers were happy to be back. Some had not trained in two or three months and rust was beginning to show, Rideout said.

For many Southern District volunteers, “it was the first time they got to see the Delaware Station”, due to the station’s unique central dispatch location between the three mine sites at Hagersville, Windsor, and Goderich.

Mining Life has published the Official 90th Anniversary Mine rescue edition. Please see historical photos of Teams from the past. Your picture might be here. https://issuu.com/canadiantradex/docs/souvenir_mine_rescue_edition

Tags: Northern Ontario / Operational Updates / Minerals / All Articles