Print Print This Page

Blitz Results: Mobile Equipment Hazards in Mines

Safe At Work Ontario
  • Issued: December 2010
  • Content last reviewed: December 2010

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.

Report summary

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.

Full report

Workplace Inspection Blitzes

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.

Blitz Focus

The mobile equipment blitz focused on:

  • Operational condition of equipment.
  • Equipment maintenance (with reference to manufacturer’s recommendations and the conditions of use).
  • Performance of required emissions tests.
  • Operators’ training, and
  • Performance of pre-operational checks.

Inspectors visited projects within all the mining sub-sectors, including:

  • Underground mines
  • Quarries
  • Open Pits
  • Diamond Drills
  • Surface Plants
  • Smelters
  • Refineries

Inspection activity

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.

Order analysis

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:

  • Safe operating condition of motor vehicles (Sections 105 to 107)
  • Training (Sections 11 to 11.2)
  • Safe access to equipment when operating or performing maintenance (Section 46(2))
  • Requirements for haulage roads on surface (Section 116)
  • Machine guarding, locking out and tagging (Section 185)
  • Diesel equipment operating procedures (Sections 182 – 183.2), and
  • Conveyor requirements (Section 196).

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).

Top three categories for orders

The top three categories for orders were:

  • Motor vehicles – 21.4 per cent (Sections 105 to 107 of the Mining Regulation)
  • General duties of employers, supervisors and workers – 21 per cent (Sections 25 to 28 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act), and
  • Equipment that failed to meet the legislation’s requirements – 11 per cent (Section 57(6) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act)

The top three sub-sectors visited by inspectors were:

  • Open pits with 77 visits
  • Quarries with 33 visits, and
  • Underground mines with 12 visits

Next Step

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:

  • Mobile equipment be maintained in a safe operating condition, and
  • Employers provide safe workplaces in both surface and underground mining operations.

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: