Manitoba Acts on Key Ewing Inquest Recommendation

Amendments to Manitoba's Workplace Safety and Health regulations announced on October 21 also act on a key recommendation of the Inquest into the death of Steven Ewing in the August 2000 furnace explosion at Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting in Flin Flon.

The Inquest found that the hazard that caused the explosion had not been properly identified by the employer. It also found that controls were not implemented in the correct order to maximize safety. The focus was on administrative controls without looking first at eliminating the hazard or implementing engineering controls.

The Inquest recommended that the regulations be amended to specify correct procedures for controlling identified hazards: "The WSHA should be amended to provide for the precise and systematic procedure for controlling identified hazards as set out in the section Systematic Procedures and Safety."

It is widely accepted that to maximize safety when a workplace hazard is identified, procedures need to be followed in the correct order. The correct order is:

  • First, to eliminate the hazard, if possible;
  • Second, to implement engineering controls (eg. modifying equipment to mitigate the hazard);
  • Third, to implement administrative controls (modifying how the work is done to mitigate the hazard);
  • Fourth, if the hazard cannot be eliminated by the above, requiring workers to wear personal protective equipment.

The new regulation specifies the precise order in which controls for identified hazards are to be implemented.

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