Mobile Mining Equipment Focus Of Enforcement Blitz
Ministry of Labour inspectors will visit mines and mining operations during a month-long blitz of mobile equipment in June 2010.
The blitz is part of the province's Safe At Work Ontario strategy, launched in June 2008.
The blitz on mobile equipment will mainly focus on motor vehicles used for both surface and underground mining operations, including "load haul dump equipment" (scoop trams, loaders), trucks, tractors, tracked vehicles, some motor vehicles running on rails and drilling equipment.
More than one-third of fires in underground mines in 2008 were caused by mobile equipment problems or defects. In total, 26 of 74 fires were blamed on these hazards.
The fires were caused by:
- Material or fluid coming in contact with hot equipment surfaces, hot exhaust or engine parts, and
- Faulty electrical wiring resulting in short circuits, overloaded circuits and battery compartment fires.
In addition to fires, mobile equipment hazards resulted in 31 incidents over the past 10 years, including collisions, near collisions or damage. All but three occurred underground. Most involved mobile equipment hitting another vehicle or worker or nearly missing them.
According to ministry records, 15 deaths have occurred since 1991 involving mobile equipment. Hazards involving this equipment are being proactively targeted because of the number of deaths and near misses and the importance of keeping equipment well maintained.
Inspectors will take enforcement action as appropriate to any contraventions found under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations.
Ministry of Labour inspectors will target surface and underground mines:
- Identified as being high-priority due to the number of equipment-related fires and occurrences that have taken place.
- Known to have hazardous processes and equipment,
- Where complaints have been received, and
- Where there is a poor compliance history.
Ministry of Labour inspectors will focus on the following key priorities:
- Mobile equipment and related systems: Inspectors will check the condition of equipment, including brakes, lights, steering and other safety components to ensure they are being properly maintained. They will ensure equipment is being maintained to prevent a fire hazard that can be caused by accumulation of oil, grease or other flammable material and substandard electrical wiring.
- Diesel emission tests: Inspectors will ensure employers are performing emission tests on diesel-powered underground mobile equipment, as required by Section 183.2 of the Regulation for Mines and Mining Plants.
- Locking out and tagging: Inspectors will check to ensure power sources to mobile equipment are being locked and tagged when maintenance and repair work is being performed, as required by Section 185 of the Regulations for Mines and Mining Plants. Standard "locking out and tagging" procedures include shutting down equipment, using an energy isolating device so that all energy sources are disconnected or isolated from the equipment, releasing stored energy in the machine, and placing a lock and tag on the energy isolating device. These procedures must be performed whenever workers are installing, servicing, maintaining or removing any type of machinery, equipment, or components. This is to ensure workers do not work on live, energized equipment and that equipment does not unexpectedly start-up or release stored energy while being worked on.
Safe At Work Ontario
Sector- and hazard-specific inspection blitzes are an important feature of the Safe At Work Ontario strategy. There is no acceptable rate of injury in Ontario workplaces.
Safe at Work Ontario is the Ministry of Labour's workplace health and safety strategy focusing on:
- Compliance and
Since being launched in June 2008, the province's team of more than 400 safety inspectors has made in excess of 68,000 workplace visits, issued more than 200,000 compliance orders and conducted 18 proactive inspection blitzes.
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