Manitoba rolls out new provisions for mine safety

Changes, implemented in wake of deadly accident, will take effect April 1

Manitoba has updated its Operations of Mines Regulation which includes stronger limitations on tethering workers to remote-controlled equipment.

"The updated mines regulation provides clearer direction for employers and workers and will help to build on the success we've experienced in reducing our injury rate by over 40 per cent since 2000," said Labour and Immigration Minister Jennifer Howard.

Changes to the mines regulation were developed after an extensive review and consultation process conducted by the mines standing committee under the Minister's Advisory Council on Workplace Safety and Health including employer and employee representatives from the mining industry.

"Manitoba's mining industry is an important contributor to the provincial economy and it is important to provide a safe environment for those who work in this physically demanding occupation," said Ed Huebert, executive vice-president, Mining Association of Manitoba. "These changes in regulations reflect input provided by industry to improve protection for mine workers."

The regulation addresses recommendations from the 2008 judicial inquest report on the fatal smelter explosion at Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting in Flin Flon, Man., — on Aug. 8, 2000, one worker was killed and 13 others injured — and other recommendations identified through consultation with stakeholders including:

•stronger limitations on tethering workers to remote-controlled equipment

•stricter safety procedures when workers use water or other potentially dangerous substances near molten material

•specific instruction for inspection and maintenance of raise climbers and the location of underground refuge stations

•stronger requirements to ventilate vehicle emissions from mobile equipment underground

•updated technical standards for roll-over and falling-object protection on vehicles

The updated regulation takes effect April 1. The province is developing resources to help employers and employees better understand the new regulation by providing:

•informational bulletins highlighting the updated requirements

•mines regulation summary sheets covering the entire regulation by parts

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