OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 36 Mining

Section 695 Propane installations

Subsection 695(1)

The manufacturer’s specifications and the Alberta Safety Codes Act define the general safety precautions and the technical standards to be applied when installing and maintaining propane equipment. The employer is responsible for ensuring that propane installations at an underground coal mine site comply with the applicable requirements.

Subsection 695(2)

Due to the explosive nature of compressed gases, storage facilities must be protected from impact by moving vehicles. Even a minor impact could cause a propane leak or an explosion.

All propane installations should be protected by collision barriers to minimize the potential for contact by moving equipment.

Propane is heavier than air and accumulates in low-lying areas. Care must be taken to ensure that proper air flow or ventilation is provided in storage enclosures. Where appropriate, detection devices should also be installed to ensure that leaking gas does not enter the underground workings.

Subsection 695(3)

Inspections are intended to ensure that leaking propane does not present an additional hazard to workers underground or related mine facilities. Propane accumulates in low-lying areas and could conceivably find its way into the underground workings via rock fractures or even the mine ventilation system. For this reason the location of propane installations must be carefully controlled and related propane facilities appropriately maintained.

Subsection 695(4)

This subsection outlines specific propane system components that must be checked at least every three months. The objective is to prevent propane leakage that could create an additional hazard to mine workers.

For ease of follow-up and investigation, it is recommended that all inspections be recorded in a maintenance log book or computerized database maintained for that purpose.

Subsection 695(5)

Due to the hazard created by propane leakage and accumulation, this subsection requires that each underground coal mine be equipped with propane gas detectors. These detectors must be installed to detect propane leaking into the mine ventilation system and visibly or audibly warn workers of the leak.

Subsection 695(6)

Similar to propane space-heaters used in large surface buildings, mine heaters are used to heat cold incoming air in the winter. The warming of the intake air helps avoid freezing temperatures in the mine workings, especially those close to the surface.

Mine air heating systems could ignite a fire or explosion if not used correctly. Where such mine air heating systems are used, whatever fuel source they use, the employer must satisfy the Director of their safe application and use. The employer must obtain the written approval of the Director prior to installing such a system.