OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 36 Mining

Section 552 Emergency warning system

Section 552(a)

Workers must be made aware of fires or other emergencies as soon as they are detected. The emergency warning system in some mines consists of compressed air lines that release a distinctive smelling gas that workers are trained to recognize as an immediate order to evacuate. Faster and more sophisticated communication systems are used in other mines. The types and sophistication of emergency communication systems available vary significantly. The employer must use the one(s) most appropriate to the prevailing conditions. On becoming aware of the emergency warning, workers should know what to do and evacuate the area promptly and appropriately. If immediate first response is not appropriate, then the area should be evacuated in an orderly manner. (See Section 553.)

Section 552(b)

Testing the emergency warning system at least every 12 months ensures the system functions properly and workers recognize and respond appropriately to its warning signals. Testing also allows the employer to assess the overall effectiveness of the emergency warning and response systems and fine tune them as necessary. A record of such tests must be kept in a logbook or its electronic equivalent. Such records provide evidence of compliance and may help to better understand and optimize the operation of emergency warning systems.

Section 552(c)

Assessing emergency response evacuations and testing warning systems often means that actions can be taken to improve future performance. A record of these remedial actions must be kept in a logbook or its electronic equivalent.