Second Fatality at Northern BC Mine Brings Calls for New Safety Regulator | The Tyee

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Unlike other industries, BC mine safety isn't regulated and enforced by WorkSafeBC. That should change, says a major union.
A northern British Columbia gold mine is reporting its second fatality since beginning operations three years ago.

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In a news release, Pretium Resources Inc., which operates the Brucejack Mine about 300 kilometres north of Prince Rupert, announced a worker had been injured last Friday and died Sunday in hospital in Terrace.

Patrick Critch, who the Terrace Standard reports was from Newfoundland, had been injured "during maintenance at a support facility on surface," the company said.

"The safety and well-being of our employees is our topmost priority and we will investigate the incident fully," Pretium Resources CEO Jacques Perron said in the release. "This tragedy is a devastating reminder of the critical importance of safety in all aspects of mine site operations."

WorkSafeBC says it will not be investigating the incident. Mining is the province's only industry not covered by the Workers Compensation Act and the provincial agency. (Aside from federally regulated industries like ports and railways.)

Instead, mine safety is addressed under the Mines Act and regulated by the Health, Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines in British Columbia.

That should change, say some mine safety advocates.

In an email to The Tyee, the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources says B.C.'s chief mines inspector has started an investigation.

It won't disclose details while work by the Mines Investigation Unit is ongoing, it said, though information related to immediate health and safety risks would be released without waiting for the report's completion.

However, a report on a death at the mine two years ago reveals concerns about health and safety procedures.

WorkSafeBC did investigate that fatality because it occurred at a labour camp covered…
Amanda Follett Hosgood
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