Mobile equipment hazards can result in fires, collisions, near collisions and other damage.
From June 1 to 30, 2010, Ministry of Labour (MOL) inspectors conducted a blitz to enforce compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The focus was on hazards involving mobile equipment such as trucks, tractors, scoop trams and drilling equipment in surface and underground mines.
The goal was to check for compliance with requirements that mobile equipment be inspected and maintained in good condition, tested for emissions and that operators were properly trained. Inspectors also checked that power sources to equipment were disconnected and couldn’t be reactivated while work was being done on equipment.
Fires and incidents involving mobile equipment continue to result in critical injuries and deaths involving workers in surface and underground mining operations.
In June, 2010, MOL occupational health and safety inspectors across Ontario made 157 field visits and issued 195 orders under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, including 23 stop work orders
More than one-fifth of the orders were related to equipment that was not in safe working condition.
Hazards included poor condition of equipment, safety devices missing or not working, equipment not locked out and tagged, and equipment with missing or removed protective guards.
Inspection blitzes are part of the province’s Safe At Work Ontario compliance strategy. They are announced to the sector by the ministry in advance although individual workplaces are not identified in advance. Results are posted on the ministry’s website. The blitzes raise awareness of known workplace hazards and promote compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its safety regulations.
Inspectors’ findings may impact the frequency and level of future inspections of individual workplaces. Inspectors refer employers to Health and Safety Associations for compliance assistance and training.
The mobile equipment blitz focused on:
Inspectors visited projects within all the mining sub-sectors, including:
Inspectors conducted 157 field visits to 139 projects and issued 195 orders. This included 23 stop work orders issued for unsafe equipment and/or an unsafe work environment.
Orders were issued under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations for Mines and Mining Plants (Ontario Regulation 854/90), including for violations involving:
Of the orders issued, 11 per cent were stop work orders for mobile equipment that failed to meet the requirements of the legislation and were a danger or hazard to the health or safety of a worker (Section 57(6) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act).
The top three categories for orders were:
The top three sub-sectors visited by inspectors were:
The ministry will continue to focus its resources on mobile equipment hazards during routine workplace inspections of Ontario’s mines. Inspectors will check for compliance with requirements that:
The ministry will continue to raise awareness of mobile equipment hazards. Future enforcement may feature aspects of the mobile equipment hazards blitz or a similar blitz may be held.
A key to workplace health and safety in Ontario is the Internal Responsibility System (IRS). Employers, supervisors, workers, their health and safety associations and the government all have key roles to play in taking responsibility for health and safety in the workplace, leading to the elimination of workplace injuries and deaths.
Workplace parties in mining operations are encouraged to work together to identify and control hazards involving mobile equipment and its use in both underground and surface environments.
For more information on identifying, preventing and controlling these hazards, please contact: