Weekly Compliance Digest – U.S. Mine Examinations, Canada Dangerous Goods

June 17, 2016 By
In this edition of the Weekly Compliance Digest, we cover a proposed rule in the U.S. affecting the mining industry, and amended regulations regarding the transportation of dangerous goods in Canada.

Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines

What is it?

Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced the publication of a proposed rule to enhance the quality of workplace examinations in metal and nonmetal mines in the U.S. The purpose of the proposed rule is to ensure that mine operators identify and correct conditions that may adversely affect miners’ safety or health, the MSHA says. The proposed rule requires that an examination of the working place be conducted before miners begin work in an area, and that the operator notifies miners in the working place of any conditions found that may adversely affect their safety or health.

According to the MSHA, the proposal would enhance the quality of working place examinations in metal and nonmetal mines, and help assure that violations of mandatory safety or health standards are identified and corrected, thereby improving protections for miners.

What are the requirements?

Under the proposed rule, companies that operate metal and non-metal mines must comply with the following requirements:

  • A competent person must examine the working place before miners begin work in that location.
  • The same competent person must sign and date the examination record before the end of each shift. The examination record must include a description of locations examined, conditions found and corrective actions taken, if applicable.
  • Mine operators must promptly notify miners of any conditions that may adversely affect their safety or health.
  • Records must be made available for inspection by MSHA and miners’ representatives, and operators must provide a copy of the records upon request.

What is next?

The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on June 8, 2016. Comments can be submitted before September 6, 2016. In addition, the MSHA will hold public hearings on its proposed rule on July 19 in Salt Lake City, July 21 in Pittsburgh, July 26 in Arlington, VA, and August 4 in Birmingham, AL.

 

Amendments to Canada’s Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Regulations

What is it?

As of June 1, 2016, amendments to Canada’s Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Regulations took effect, and include reporting requirements regarding the theft or release of dangerous goods (i.e. hazardous materials or chemicals). If dangerous goods are lost, stolen or unlawfully interfered with during transportation, the loss, theft or interference must be reported to local authorities. Also, the obligation to report an accidental release of dangerous goods during transportation was modified to also require the reporting of anticipated releases.

Who is affected?

Organizations involved with the transportation and handling of dangerous goods by road vehicle, railway vehicle or ship, in Canada.

What are the requirements?

An OHS Insider article provides a very good summary of the requirements. If dangerous goods are lost, stolen or unlawfully interfered with in the course of being imported, offered for transport, handled or transported, the loss, theft or interference must be reported. The loss or theft of dangerous goods must be reported as soon as possible by telephone to the persons specified in the TDG regulations if the lost or stolen dangerous goods are in excess of the quantity specified in the regulations.

Also, the obligation to report an accidental release of dangerous goods was modified to also include anticipated releases. The term “release” was redefined to include both accidental and voluntary releases. Releases or anticipated releases of dangerous goods that are being offered for transport, handled or transported by road vehicle, railway vehicle or ship must be reported to any local authority responsible for responding to emergencies in the location of the release or anticipated release if the dangerous goods are, or could be, in excess of designated quantities. Emergency reports must be made as soon as possible after a release or anticipated release. In addition to making an emergency report, a release or anticipated release report must also be produced if the release or anticipated release resulted in:

  • The death of a person.
  • Injury to a person that required immediate medical treatment by a healthcare provider.
  • An evacuation of people or their shelter in place.
  • The closure of a facility used in the loading and unloading of dangerous goods, or of a road, a main railway line or a main waterway.

What is next?

The amendments took effect on June 1, 2016. Companies have, with a few exceptions, six months as of that date to begin complying with the new requirements.

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Categories: EHS

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