New and improved mining health and safety training

Monday, November 03, 2014

Updated Mining Common Core Training for First-line Supervisors 

WSN Mining Common Core Training for First-line Supervisors 

Two mining workers, one with clipboard, training on-site regarding incident investigations

After a major review of its mining supervisor training programs in 2013, Workplace Safety North (WSN) is pleased to announce a new and improved suite of Mining Supervisor Common Core training programs. With extensive help and input from its members, and using Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) performance objectives as a guideline, WSN took a close look at course activities, multimedia components, and general course content and length.

“Feedback from our members was instrumental in helping improve and streamline the courses,” says John Levesque, Manager of Program and Product Development. “WSN reviews course content regularly, so our ongoing partnership with Ontario mining members is crucial to ensuring material is both relevant and streamlined. At the same time, we help our members stay up to date with changes to provincial health and safety legislation and industry best practices.

“I especially want to thank those who took the time to provide feedback. It shows a serious commitment to continuous improvement of mining health and safety in this province. We really couldn’t do it without their participation and commitment – so a big thank you for the feedback – keep it coming,” adds Levesque. 

Eight of the 10 supervisor common core revisions are complete and these revised courses are now in use. Two remaining courses, ‘Ground Control’ and ‘Mine Ventilation,’ will be launched in revised form in 2015. 

General improvements include:

  • Reduction of undue repetition from course to course, including ice breaker exercises
  • All course activities updated and streamlined
  • Information condensed regarding MTCU modules, WSN’s role in training delivery, and course evaluation process
  • Course videos deemed out-of-date removed and replaced with effective participant activities; retained videos have been remastered to ensure the highest technical quality.

Brief overview of updated training

1. Occupational Health and Safety Act and Mining Regulations

This one-day course familiarizes participants with the format and contents of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations for Mines and Mining Plants. All legislative references are up to date.

2. Introduction to Safety Programs

Reduced in length from two days to one day, the program introduces participants to safety concepts, safety policy and programs, safe work performance, hazard identification and analysis, loss control concepts, the Five Point Safety System, and legislated requirements for safety programs. Information was carefully condensed. In some cases, useful but non-essential information was moved from the classroom portion to the ‘Resources’ section in the participant manual. Significant new material was inserted on the Internal Responsibility System (IRS) and supervisor leadership, as well as risk assessment. 

3. Planned Inspection and Observation

Revised and updated, this two-day course familiarizes participants with the workplace inspection process and provides the skills and knowledge required to conduct planned workplace inspections. The purpose of job and task observations is clarified, and practical approaches to both planned and informal job observations are reviewed.

4. Incident Investigation

This two-day course provides an introduction to the investigation process as well as the basic knowledge and skills required to conduct effective incident investigations at underground mining operations. Extensively revised, the program now includes an interactive workshop that fully immerses participants in the incident investigation process.

5. Prepare for Emergencies

This revised and updated two-day course provides participants with the knowledge of how to prepare for emergencies at an underground mining operation. Topics include legislative requirements; site-specific emergency plans and procedures; emergency equipment and fixtures in place and operable; reporting and communication procedures; and, the review of site-specific emergency plans and procedures with employees.

6. Occupational Health and Industrial Hygiene

This revised and updated one-day course familiarizes participants with industrial hygiene principles, including: anticipation, recognition, evaluation and control; and how this relates to the reduction or elimination of occupational health and safety risks. 

7. Practise Effective Communication

This one-day course provides participants with the knowledge they need to communicate effectively. Topics include consulting with support groups and accessing resources; organizational communication systems; effective communication skills; and conducting crew and safety meetings. Course content has been streamlined to enhance learner comprehension and participation.

8. Manage Employees

Reduced from two days to one day in length, condensed course content focuses on the knowledge participants need to manage employees. Topics include: acting as a company representative; mentoring and coaching employees; addressing conflicts; applying progressive disciplinary procedures; conducting performance appraisals; and, ensuring workers are adequately trained to complete their work assignments.

Summary of training updates

As part of the ongoing maintenance cycle related to the mining supervisor common core suite of training programs, every opportunity was taken to fine tune and clarify content, and to create more interaction in the classroom. WSN is also developing a more systematic process for internal auditing of training delivery to ensure consistent, effective instruction.

“We take this partnership seriously and intend to keep members informed as we complete the necessary improvements to the two remaining courses in this important suite of programs,” says Levesque. “Workplace Safety North thanks its members for their commitment to an ongoing partnership in the quest to make Ontario’s mining workplaces healthy and safe.”