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Mining Program

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.

Ontario’s mining sector varies in location, setting and activity. It includes:

  • large and small firms;
  • unionized and non-unionized workplaces;
  • underground and surface operations;
  • processing plants, including mills, smelters and refineries;
  • sand and gravel operations;
  • mineral exploration sites; and
  • oil and gas extraction facilities.

Mining blitzes

Explosives

Improper storage or handling of explosives can result in serious injuries or death to mine workers. An incident involving a storage area or surface blast can even injure members of the public and damage property outside an underground mine, open pit mine or quarry.

From July 1 to August 31, 2014, mining inspectors and engineers conducted an enforcement blitz with regards to hazards involving the use, handling and storage of explosives at surface and underground mines across Ontario.

Table 29: Explosives blitz stats
Program activities Number
Field visits 55
Workplaces visited 49
Orders and requirements issued 195
Stop work orders 4
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 3.7
Orders and requirements per field visit 3.3

Resources

Ground control

Workers face health and safety risks from hazards that can lead to the collapse of excavated rock areas in underground and surface mines. These hazards can result in serious injuries and even death to workers.

From October 1 to November 30, 2014, mining inspectors and engineers conducted an enforcement blitz to check that Ontario mines have proper control measures in place to prevent the collapse of “ground” (rock) as well as to prevent “rockbursts” (bursts of rock from mine roofs and walls). They also looked at stockpiles and working faces at surface mines.

Table 30: Ground control blitz stats
Program activities Number
Field visits 74
Workplaces visited 61
Orders and requirements issued 229
Stop work orders 13
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 3.75
Orders and requirements per field visit 3.09

Resources

Water management

Failure to properly manage water and prevent its accumulation in underground mines can lead to runs of muck (mined material saturated with water) and other unsafe conditions. This can result in workers being seriously injured or drowned.

From February 1 to March 31, 2015, Ministry of Labour mining inspectors and engineers visited underground mines to check on safety issues affecting management of water in mines. This included checking for hazards that could cause water to accumulate and infiltrate ore passes, ore storage bins and raises (vertical excavations leading from one level to another).

Table 31: Water management blitz stats
Program activities Number
Field visits 43
Workplaces visited 28
Orders and requirements issued 174
Stop work orders 22
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 6.2
Orders and requirements per field visit 4

Resources

Provincial mining enforcement initiatives

The provincial enforcement initiatives carried out by the Mining Health and Safety Program inspectors from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015 were for:

  • dust management / ventilation;
  • mobile equipment;
  • remote control equipment; and
  • asbestos control and inventory.
Table 32: Mining health and safety program initiatives
Program activities Number
Field visits 262
Workplaces visited 217
Orders and requirements issued 911
Stop work orders 48
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 5.22
Orders and requirements per field visit 4.04

Resources

Dust management / ventilation:

Mobile equipment:

Videos:

Asbestos program and inventory

Regional mining enforcement initiatives

Eastern

Mining – verification common core training

This mining initiative in Eastern region was directed to ensure minimum levels of common core training were being met at surface mining operations. This initiative was active from April 1 to September 30, 2014.

Table 33: Mining - verification common core training (Eastern Region)
Program activities Number
Field visits 22
Workplaces visited 17
Orders and requirements issued 52
Stop work orders 1
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 3.1

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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.