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Safe Mining in Pits and Quarries

Safe At Work Ontario

Disclaimer: This resource has been prepared to help the workplace parties understand some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and regulations. It is not legal advice. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE SEE FULL DISCLAIMER

The Ministry of Labour (MOL) enforces and promotes awareness of safety measures to improve the safety of workers at surface mines across Ontario.

Significant hazards exist at surface mines. These include hazards involving:

  • material handling by mobile equipment operators and
  • pedestrian interaction with trucks and other vehicles used in mining operations

Since 2000, 10 workers have died in pits and quarries in Ontario. Two of them were in incidents involving rock crushing, screening and conveying processes. During the same period, 61 workers were seriously injured in pits and quarries. Four workers were in incidents involving rock crushing, screening and conveying processes.

Some general duties of workplace parties

Employers

Employers are required to provide information, instruction and supervision to workers at surface mines to protect their health and safety.

To comply, seasonally–operated surface mines usually arrange safety meetings and refresher training for returning workers at the beginning of season.

Employers must also:

  • take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of workers
  • ensure workers meet minimum age requirements
  • ensure equipment, materials and protective devices are well maintained and used as per manufacturer's instructions
  • ensure workers are provided with appropriate supervision and personal protective equipment
  • prepare and review, at least annually, a written occupational health and safety policy, and develop and maintain a program to implement that policy
  • post a copy of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), as well as the name and phone number of the MOL inspector for the district, prominently in the workplace

The following are examples of additional employers' duties from the Regulation for Mines and Mining Plants under the OHSA:

Supervisors

The following are some examples of supervisors' duties under the OHSA:

  • ensure workers are trained for the work they do
  • ensure workers comply with the OHSA and its regulations
  • ensure any equipment, protective device or clothing required by the employer is used or worn by workers
  • advise workers of potential or actual hazards known by the supervisor
  • if prescribed, provide workers with written instructions on measures and procedures to be taken for their protection, including vehicle operation, traffic control and lock and tag, as required
  • take every reasonable precaution in the circumstances for the protection of workers

Workers

The following are some examples of workers' duties under the OHSA:

  • work in compliance with the OHSA and its regulations
  • use or wear the equipment, protective devices or clothing that the employer requires to be used or worn;
  • report workplace hazards or OHSA contraventions to their supervisor or employer

Protecting workers

It is the responsibility of all workplace parties to comply with the OHSA and its regulations.

For more information on legal responsibilities, please visit E-laws.

Other health and safety requirements and best practices

Workplace parties are required to take measures to address common vehicle hazards at surface mines, including:

  • improper mounting and dismounting of vehicles
  • collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians and rollovers
  • improper traffic controls
  • improperly maintained haulage vehicles
  • lack of proper loading and dumping procedures
  • improperly maintained haulage roads
  • overloaded haulage vehicles and improperly secured loads
  • contact with power lines
  • working from heights
  • excessively steep or narrow haulage roads
  • lack of dust control

Further information on pit and quarry safety:

Toll–free number

Call 1–877–202–0008 any time to report critical injuries, fatalities or work refusals. Call 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday for general inquiries about workplace health and safety. Always call 911 in an emergency.