Print this page

Preventing Falls in Mines

Safe At Work Ontario
  • Issued: May 2016
  • Content last reviewed: May 2016
  • See also: Fall Hazards

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.

Falls are a leading cause of injuries and deaths in Ontario. Between 1991 and 2015, 10 workers died in Ontario mines as a result of incidents involving falls.

Some examples of fall hazards in mines include:

  • unguarded openings such as those found around mine shafts, ore passes and open stopes
  • elevated work platforms with missing or inadequate guard rail systems
  • working from scissor or man lifts without safety gear in place
  • working in an unsafe manner on ladders and/or large mobile equipment
  • changes in elevation due to uneven ground conditions
  • slippery or obscured conditions that could be concealed by mud or water

Hazard controls may include:

  • engineering controls that prevent falls hazards
  • safe work practices that include good housekeeping practices to keep work areas free of debris
  • prescribed personal protective equipment (PPE) for tasks
  • worker training in recognition and prevention of falls hazards
  • worker training for use of fall protection equipment

Employers need to:

  • provide information and instruction to workers on the use and maintenance of PPE to prevent slips, trips and falls
  • encourage workers to report slips, trips and falls hazards
  • identify and assess the risk of job-specific slips, trips and falls hazards
  • establish controls to eliminate or reduce workers' exposure to slips, trips and falls hazards
  • ensure control measures are in place to adequately protect workers from falls

Duties of workplace parties

Constructors, employers, supervisors and workers have a number of duties and responsibilities under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

Employers, supervisors and trainers should encourage workers to communicate any questions or concerns they may have about falls hazards. Supervisors or others involved in training workers should be familiar with any health and safety concerns faced by the workers.

Employers

Below are some examples of employers’ duties under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA):

  • provide information, instruction and supervision to workers to protect their health and safety, including providing information on safe work policies and procedures specific to the workplace and type of work the workers will perform [section 25 (2) (a)]
  • take every reasonable precaution in the circumstances for the protection of workers [section 25 (2) (h)]
  • ensure prescribed measures and procedures are carried out at the workplace [section 25 (1) (c)]
  • ensure equipment, materials and protective devices required by the regulations are provided and maintained in good condition [section 25 (1) (a) and (b)]
  • provide assistance to, and co-operate with, the mine's Joint Health and Safety Committee and/or a health and safety representative [section 25 (2) (e)]
  • prepare and review, at least annually, a written occupational health and safety policy for the workplace, and develop and maintain a program to implement that policy [section 25 (2) (j)]
  • post an OHSA copy in the workplace [section 25 (2) (k)]

Supervisors

Below are some examples of supervisors’ OHSA duties:

  • ensure workers comply with the OHSA and its regulations [section 27 (1) (a)]
  • ensure any equipment, protective devices or clothing required by the employer is used and/or worn by workers [section 27 (1) (b)]
  • advise workers of any potential or actual health or safety dangers known by the supervisor [section 27 (2) (a)]
  • if prescribed, provide workers with written instructions on the measures and procedures to be taken for workers’ protection [section 27 (2) (b)]
  • take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker [section 27 (2) (c)]

Workers

Below are some examples of workers' OHSA duties:

  • use or operate equipment in a safe manner [section 28 (2) (b)]
  • report defects in equipment to your supervisor or employer [section 28 (1) (c)]
  • work in compliance with the OHSA and its regulations [section 28 (1) (a)]
  • report any known workplace hazards or OHSA violations to your supervisor or employer [section 28 (1) (d)]

Workers should be aware of their OHSA rights, including the right to refuse unsafe work and the right to know about any potential hazards they may be exposed to in mines.

More information

Toll-free number

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

Stop Falls Logo

Disclaimer: This web resource has been prepared to assist the workplace parties in understanding some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the regulations. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations and reference should always be made to the official version of the legislation.

It is the responsibility of the workplace parties to ensure compliance with the legislation. This web resource does not constitute legal advice. If you require assistance with respect to the interpretation of the legislation and its potential application in specific circumstances, please contact your legal counsel.

While this web resource will also be available to Ministry of Labour inspectors, they will apply and enforce the OHSA and its regulations based on the facts as they may find them in the workplace. This web resource does not affect their enforcement discretion in any way.