Tolko Industries logyard in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Tolko Industries logyard in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Chief inspector of mines makes recommendations regarding COVID-19

The chief inspector of mines has communicated to all major mines, sand and gravel and placer operations in B.C. to ensure they are complying with the orders and directives issued by the provincial health officer in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically, mines in B.C. must follow the public health order prohibiting gatherings in excess of 50 people. The following recommendations apply in terms of day-to-day production and site operations:

Reduce the number of on-site personnel by encouraging work from home where feasible.

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In-person town hall meetings used to address the whole site must be avoided for groups of more than 50 people. Communication should continue in smaller groups or via other media.

Daily pre-shift safety meetings (toolbox meetings) affecting more than 50 people are to be held in smaller numbers or via other media.

Reduce in-person meetings and other gatherings where possible.

Although bunkhouses and cafeterias are regulated by WorkSafeBC and regional health authorities, the chief inspector of mines is also recommending that mine managers limit the number of people in each area to fewer than 50 at any given time and establish multiple sittings in cafeterias to minimize interactions.

The recommendations also include advice for transportation to and from mines, as well as general implementation of social distancing practices of two metres between people.

Mines inspectors and the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources are in contact with mines around the province to ensure the health and safety of workers and the environment is maintained. This work is fluid as the ministry adjusts to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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