Top four changes to mining health and safety
As of January 1, 2017, amendments to Regulation 854 Mines and Mining Plants of the Occupational Health and Safety Act became law. The regulatory changes relate to risk assessments, water and traffic management programs, and recording of seismic events. It’s up to Ontario employers to ensure they are complying with the requirements set out by the Ministry of Labour.
“The updated regulation requires Ontario mines to conduct risk assessments for all hazards,” says Mike Parent, WSN Mining Director. “Risk assessments are the building blocks for successful health and safety management systems. Due to the levels of risk water impoundment and traffic bring to a mine, it’s important to conduct risk assessments as they are essential in the development, implementation and maintenance of management programs for these hazards.”
“In order to help mining companies meet these new requirements, Workplace Safety North offers on-site hazard assessment service,” says Parent. “Our mining health and safety specialists include experts in ventilation, ground control and industrial hygiene, so we encourage companies to take advantage of this service.”
“Everyone has a role to play, from frontline workers to health and safety committee members to management, that’s why it’s important for all levels to learn about the updated regulation,” says Parent.
1. Risk assessments for all hazards and potential hazards: Employers must assess and manage the risks of hazards and potential hazards that could arise in the workplace due to the type of work or the conditions of work. Employers will be required to develop and maintain written measures to control the risks, and eliminate the hazards, where possible, depending on the likelihood for worker injury or illness. Risk assessments must be reviewed annually, or as often as is necessary.
2. Water management programs: Owners of underground mines will be required to develop and maintain a written water management program, which includes measures and procedures to:
- Identify areas of the mine where water is likely to accumulate
- Control the volume of water that may enter the mine, either naturally or as a result of the mining process
- Prevent unwanted or uncontrolled flows of water in all areas of the mine
- Effectively and safely manage and remove water that could injure a worker
- Maintain all components of water removal and drainage systems
The program must be reviewed annually, as well as, following any significant change to the water removal system.
3. Traffic management programs: Employers will be required to develop and maintain a written traffic management program. The program must include measures and procedures to prevent motor vehicle collisions by addressing hazards related to reduced visibility of motor vehicle operators, and protect the health and safety of workers who may be endangered by a moving motor vehicle. The program must be review at least annually.
4. Recording of seismic events: Currently, a rock burst and an uncontrolled fall of ground must be recorded. The changes will require that a seismic event be recorded if it is likely to cause significant rock mass damage or ground instability in or near the active area of a mine.
Legal requirements for Ontario mines effective July 1, 2016
1. High visibility workwear: All workers who work underground, or on surface between sunset and sunrise, need to wear clothing that meets new requirements as set out in Regulation 854, including retro-reflective material on the front, back and sides of head gear. Retro-reflective striping must be on the outside of the garment, measure at least 50 mm in width, completely encircle the waist, each arm and each leg below the knee, and be arranged in two vertical lines on the front of the garment and in the form of an “X” on the back of the garment. HVSA and retro-reflective material on headgear must be in good condition so that the worker is visible.
2. Guards and emergency stopping devices on conveyors: Changes to requirements for conveyor guards allow employers to use fences, barricades, and gates with an interlocking device to prevent worker access to conveyor pinch points in some cases. In addition, existing requirements for pull cords on conveyors now include the use of other emergency stopping devices to reflect technological updates.
3. Updates to training for surface diamond drilling: Changes to the modular training program for diamond drill operations require all workers engaged in surface diamond drilling operations be trained in the appropriate common core and speciality modules.
For detailed information on the new regulations, visit the Ministry of Labour website.
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