Students & Staff Remember Those Who Were Lost
25th Annniversary of Westray Mine Disaster
Students and staff from across Pictou County are marking the 25th anniversary of the Westray Mine disaster with in-class discussions, by attending ceremonies and learning about the importance of workplace safety.
On May 9, 1992, a quiet Saturday morning, 26 miners were working underground in the Southwest 2 tunnel. Most of the miners were in their early 30's. The youngest was 22 years old, the oldest 56. At 5:20 a.m., sparks from their continuous mining machine ignited methane gas that had not been properly ventilated. On the ground lay dangerously high levels of coal dust that had not been stone-dusted. The combination created a massive explosion that rocked the tiny community of Plymouth. (from the Canadian Encyclopedia)
As a result of the disaster, in 2004 Parliament passed Bill C-45 imposing criminal liability on corporations and executives that fail to ensure a safe workplace. The "Westray Mine Law" established new legal duties for workplace health and safety, and imposed serious penalties for violations that result in injuries or death. The Bill provided new rules for attributing criminal liability to organizations, including corporations, their representatives and those who direct the work of others.