06 Apr

Almost seven years ago, on June 8, 2011, Jordan Fram, 26, and Jason Chenier, 35, were killed at Vale’s Stobie Mine after they were buried by a run of hundreds of tons of muck.

Two of Fram’s family members — his sister, Briana Fram, and mother, Wendy Fram — were recently honoured by the United Steelworkers union for their efforts to make mines safer and help ensure a similar tragedy never happens again.

During the union’s health and safety conference in Pittsburgh, they were presented with the J. William Lloyd Award.

“The award is given to an individual or organization from outside the union for outstanding contributions to health, safety or environment,” said information about the award on the union’s website.

“Bill Lloyd was an epidemiologist whose research established that coke oven work causes cancer. Not content with simply researching occupational health problems, he left academia to join the USW safety and health staff.

“The award honors his combination of academic excellence and committee activism.”

In the wake of Jordan’s death, the Fram family were active in a committee called MINES, or Mining Inquiry Needs Everyone’s Support, pushing for an inquiry into mining safety in Ontario.

The province eventually held a review of mining safety, and released a report in 2015 that recommended several changes to legislation.

The Fram family also appeared in a video promoting the Steelworkers’ Stop the Killing campaign, pushing for the Westray Law to be enforced.

Under the Westray Law, managers and directors of corporations found to have failed to take steps to protect employees’ lives can be held criminally liable for workers’ death and injury.

Receiving the award was very emotional, as it brought back many memories, said Briana Fram. She said she and her mother were touched to receive a standing ovation from the 1,200 people at the award ceremony.

Briana said while her family could have grieved privately, they chose not to stay quiet, as they wanted to see changes made.

“I know my brother would be very proud of the work we’ve all done,” she said.