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Safe Surface Diamond Drilling

Safe At Work Ontario
  • Issued: June 2011
  • Content last reviewed: June 2011
  • See also: Mining

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 is increasing enforcement of regulations and promoting awareness of essential safety measures to improve the safety of workers on surface diamond drilling sites.

Since January 2009, the workforce engaged in diamond drilling has increased by 64 per cent. Good training and supervision are essential, particularly when work shifts are long, and many workers are young and/or new to the job.

Inspector focus

Ministry of Labour inspectors may take enforcement action if they find violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations. They pay particular attention to:


Entanglement with moving or rotating equipment can cause serious injury and death. Guards must protect workers from rotating equipment. Refer to the Regulation for Mines and Mining Plants [Reg. 854, s. 185]. Interlocks that prevent inadvertent contact to rotating equipment are desirable additions to the guards. Emergency stop switches are important to be able to quickly stop equipment motion in case of an incident.

Medical emergency preparedness

Chances of survival are greatest if injured workers receive prompt medical care; however, immediate medical attention may not be possible in remote work locations. Nevertheless, good medical emergency plans and suitable rescue equipment can reduce the time needed to treat the injured worker. A designated contact location near the drill site can facilitate contact with Emergency Medical Services.


The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) sets out certain specific duties for workplace supervisors. A supervisor must:

  • ensure that workers use the protective devices and comply with measures and procedures required by the OHSA and regulations [clause 27(1)(a)]
  • ensure that workers use or wear any equipment, protective device or clothing required by the employer [clause 27(1)(b)]
  • advise workers of any potential or actual health or safety dangers known by the supervisor [clause 27(2)(a)]
  • if prescribed, provide workers with written instructions about the measures and procedures to be taken for the workers’ protection [clause 27(2)(b)], and
  • take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of workers [clause 27(2)(c)].


Employers must conform to the Regulation for Mines and Mining Plants [Reg. 854, s. 11.1(1)]. Employers are required to establish and maintain Surface Common Core Programs for Diamond Drillers for both Runners and Helpers (Program #P770200).

Employers must be able to show proof of a worker’s successful completion of appropriate training [Reg. 854, s. 11.1(4)]. A Certificate of Achievement showing that a worker has successfully completed a training program referred to in subsection (1), issued by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, constitutes conclusive proof for the purposes of this section of the worker’s successful completion of the training program.

The employer must have training materials readily available for review by a Ministry of Labour inspector, preferably on site. If the employer fails to do so, the inspector may take appropriate enforcement action.

More information about safety on construction projects

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Call 1-877-202-0008 anytime to report workplace health and safety incidents or for general inquiries about health and safety at the workplace.

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.