Toronto – In November and December 2012, Ontario Ministry of Labour mining inspectors will check on hazards involving two specific types of systems used to transfer ore inside underground mines. The systems are the ‘Ore pass’ (vertical or inclined passage used for the downward transfer of ore) and the ‘Loading pocket’ (chamber excavated in the rock at the base of an ore pass where rock is stored). These two systems are the most hazardous of any ore transfer system.
Inspectors will focus on the following key priorities:
- Material transfer systems: Inspectors will check for the presence, adequacy and use of procedures to protect workers from possible hazards involving the withdrawal, collapse, shifting or movement of bulk material such as rock or ore.
- Water control: Inspectors will check the mine is free of accumulated water. This includes checking that drainage systems are being maintained to ensure the water hazards are controlled and excess water is removed from the mine.
- Equipment: Inspectors will check that chutes, transfer points, loading pockets and control gates used to transfer blasted rock in underground mines are well designed and maintained in good condition.
- Communication: Inspectors will check that warning signs and barriers are in place to protect workers around chutes and transfer areas. Workers at potential risk of being engulfed by moving rock during the transfer of material must be warned, as required by the Regulation for Mines and Mining Plants.
The MOL also is continuing its focus on detecting various hazards at manufacturing workplaces across the province in November because hazards at manufacturing sector workplaces can result in injuries, illness or even death.
MOL industrial inspectors are continuing to check on machine guarding and lockout hazards. They are also checking on hazards involving musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), chemical and noise exposure and workplace violence and harassment.
The inspectors are checking that:
- Exposed moving parts and in-running nip hazards on machines and equipment are properly guarded.
- Lockout procedures are followed to prevent machines from starting when repairs or maintenance are carried out.
- Equipment is maintained in good condition.
- Workers are trained and supervised on lockout procedures.
- Workers are protected from other hazards.
In 2010, hazards involving inadequate machine guarding and lockout procedures were among the top four causes of injuries, according to Workplace Safety and Insurance Board data. These types of injuries also tended to be the most severe.