1999.318.52 | Miners' Safety and Prevention team, Thetford Mines, QC, about 1930
Miners' Safety and Prevention team, Thetford Mines, QC, about 1930
About 1930, 20th century
Silver salts on paper
9.3 x 13.6 cm
Gift of Mr. Alfred Penhale Estate
This artefact belongs to :© Musée minéralogique et minier de Thetford Mines
Keys to History
Starting in the 1920s, the Quebec government began to take worker safety seriously. In 1928 it set up the Workmen's Compensation Board (the forerunner of today's occupational health and safety board, the CSST), then, in 1931 passed the Workmen's Compensation Act, which established the principle of employers' joint responsibility. The companies joined together to prevent accidents and in 1932 formed the Asbestos Mining Safety Association of Quebec. First-aid kits were placed in the mines and dangerous spots were watched especially closely. Training and safety rules were standardized. First-aid courses were given to employees and safety committees were set up. Hard hats, safety boots and lamps became standard equipment for underground miners. In 1935 there were no deaths in the asbestos mines.
This photo shows Governor General Lord Tweedsmuir's visit to Thetford Mines. On either side of the door, there are signs reminding miners of the importance of safety. The French sign, on the left, says: "Prenez garde! N'oubliez pas : la femme d'un ouvrier négligent est presque veuve". [Be careful! Don't forget, the wife of a careless worker is almost a widow]. The English sign, on the right, is hidden by the dignitaries. It said "Safety First! The best safety device is a safe worker."
This photo was taken at the King mine, where safety committees were set up in 1928. There had been one at the Bell mine since 1927.
This photo was taken on March 4, 1936, when the Governor General of Canada visited Thetford Mines.
The Governor General of Canada and his entourage are surrounded by Asbestos Corporation executives. In the photo are J. T. McCallum, George Dick, E. L. Rainboth, the Honourable Alastair Buchan, C. H. McNaughton, the Governor General of Canada Lord Tweedsmuir and his wife, R. W. Steels, Lieutenant Rivers Smith, ADC, Major Redfern, Sydney Bateman and George F. Jenkins. The policeman at the back is probably Michel Côté.