OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 36 Mining

Section 693 Means of ignition

Subsection 693(1)

Means of ignition are provided by any and all items that have the potential for causing a fire or explosion. Means of ignition are not  limited to matches and lighters but can include non-permissible lighting, defective permissible lights, flame traps on equipment, foil wrapping on candy and other materials. All such items are commonly known as “contraband” and are prohibited in underground coal mines.

One means of enforcing this prohibition is to allow the employer to conduct periodic searches of workers and visitors prior to going underground to ensure that they are not in possession of contraband items. This section requires the employer to submit to the Director for approval a suitable system to conduct such searches and implement appropriate disciplinary action.

Subsections 693(2) and (3)

Workers are also responsible for ensuring that contraband materials are not taken into underground mines. Employers must ensure workers are aware of this requirement through a system of checks and reminders as workers enter the mine. Employers must also clearly mark restricted areas where smoking materials and other sources of ignition are prohibited. Workers must comply with these requirements.

Subsection 693(4)

Despite the prohibitions noted in subsections (1) through (3), this Part does allow some limited means of controlled ignition to be brought into an underground coal mine. For example, subsection 659(1) allows permitted explosives in the mine. Similarly, subsection 746(2) allows some cutting, welding or soldering using an arc or flame subject to the Director’s approval.