Mining inspectors will focus on diesel emissions and other hazards that could affect air quality during a blitz in underground mines in January and February.
The increased enforcement is part of the province's Safe At Work Ontario strategy, launched in June 2008.
The Ministry of Labour inspectors will check that employers are complying with recent changes to emission requirements for diesel-powered equipment under the Regulations for Mines and Mining Plants.
The changes better protect workers from the potentially harmful effects of diesel emissions by:
The changes went into effect on January 1, 2012.
Poor air quality in underground mines can lead to occupational illness and death of workers. In particular, workers are at risk when exposed to carbon monoxide in diesel exhaust.
Underground mines can have poor air quality when:
To protect workers, the new amendments require employers to:
The mining regulations are part of Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).
Inspectors will target underground mines that use diesel equipment, including:
Inspectors will check on two types of equipment:
Inspectors will take enforcement action, as appropriate, for any contraventions found under the OHSA and its regulations.
Mining inspectors will focus on the following key priorities:
Committee Consultation: Inspectors will check that employers have developed and implemented testing measures and procedures for each piece of diesel equipment, in consultation with the JHSC or health and safety representative.
Diesel Equipment: Inspectors will check that equipment used for underground transportation of workers and materials is being regularly tested, as required.
Workplace Air Sampling: Inspectors will check that employers are regularly testing the air in underground mines to ensure exposure to toxic airborne substances do not exceed the prescribed limits.
Bill Killorn, Minister's Office, 416-326-7708
Matt Blajer, Communications Branch, 416-326-7405
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