OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 36 Mining

Section 703 Manholes

Subsection 703(1)

This subsection focuses on mine levels or tunnels in which haulage equipment and mine workers routinely travel at the same time. Facilities must be provided to give the worker an appropriate means of avoiding the moving equipment. In an underground mine that means of avoidance is provided by specially excavated “manholes” or places of refuge into which a worker can step.

Along underground haulage routes, this subsection requires that manholes be established at least every 20 metres (65 feet). Some exceptions to this requirement are provided in subsection 703(2).

Subsection 703(2)

Under certain conditions the employer is allowed to forego installing manholes. Unless a hazard assessment indicates that a manhole should still be installed, manholes are not required if haulage equipment speed does not exceed 8 kilometres per hour (5 miles per hour). The physical dimensions of the travelway must also provide a clearance of at least 1 metre between the equipment and any worker.

Subsection 703(3)

To ensure that sufficient room is available for a mine worker to avoid contact with moving haulage equipment, this subsection specifies the minimum dimensions of a manhole or place of refuge. To ensure that the manhole can be used when needed, it cannot become a storage area for garbage or spare parts, etc. Manholes must be kept clear at all times.

Manholes must be clearly identified (usually with signage) and numbered. The signage and numbering ensure that assistance can be directed to the correct location as quickly as possible during an emergency.