OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
Bookmark this page

Part 36 Mining

Section 685 Mine Manager

Subsection 685(1)

The underground coal mine manager is the company representative who has the greatest opportunity to influence, and the greatest responsibility for, the health and safety of workers in an underground coal mine. It is the underground coal mine manager’s position that is most often singled out in this Part when specific employer responsibilities are noted.

In Alberta, an underground coal mine manager must be appointed by the employer to supervise daily activities at the mine. Once the manager has been appointed, the Director must be notified without delay.

The Director confirms that the appointed mine manager is certified by Alberta’s Board of Examiners for mining. This communication of appointment and the subsequent confirmation by the Director is intended to ensure the minimum qualifications established by the Board of Examiners are in fact maintained.

Subsection 685(2)

This subsection recognizes that qualified underground coal mine managers are becoming rare. This is due to the declining size of the underground coal mining industry and the fact that qualified candidates are leaving the industry.

While the appointed mine manager is temporarily away from the mine area, this section allows an employer to appoint an underground coal mine foreman to temporarily act in the mine manager’s position. The foreman must hold an underground coal mine foreman’s certificate. This approach is acceptable if not more than 30 workers in total work underground in the mining operation at any one time and the appointment if for not longer than seven days. The intent here is to provide the employer with some short-term flexibility while the appointed manager is temporarily away from the area.

Subsection 685(3)

An appointed underground coal mine manager is often required to be temporarily away from the mine site, possibly for several days. Such temporary absences must be recognized and accommodated appropriately. When an underground coal mine foreman is appointed as temporary underground coal mine manager, the appointed underground coal mine manager must, as far as practicable, remain in constant communication with his or her replacement. The common availability of cell phones, satellite phones and electronic communication make this possible.

Subsection 685(4)

If the appointed mine manager needs to be away from the mine area for more than seven days but less than 90 days, this section allows an employer to appoint an acting underground coal mine manager to act in the mine manager’s position. The candidate must hold an underground coal mine manager’s certificate. The intent here is to provide the employer with additional flexibility should the appointed manager be away from the mine area for up to 90 days.

Subsection 685(5)

If the appointed mine manager needs to be away from the mine area for more than 90 days, this section requires that the manager be replaced and a new manager be appointed. The candidate must hold an underground coal mine manager’s certificate. The Director must be informed of the appointment as soon as possible.