OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 36 Mining

Section 553 Evacuation

Section 553(a)

To ensure an effective response, detailed and logical evacuation procedures must be prepared for fires, flooding, cave ins, explosions and other life-threatening emergencies. How quickly the mine can be evacuated using the safest routes is one of the most important criteria in assessing the efficiency of evacuation procedures. Section 8 of the OHS Regulation requires that the procedures be in writing and available to workers.

Section 553(b)

Copies of the evacuation procedure must be posted in conspicuous places on the surface and underground to be readily available to all persons. Posted copies help to quickly refresh memories and get workers moving in the right direction.

Section 553(c)

Site-specific training, familiarization with escape routes, and the ability to recognize warning signals and respond accordingly are all critical to successful evacuations. A successful execution of any emergency plan or procedure is the result of adequate planning, training, and provision of needed equipment and resources. Although emergency response procedures are rarely used in a well-managed mining operation, each mine’s preparedness and ability to execute its plan with a high degree of efficiency and effectiveness helps ensure high morale and confidence among workers.

Section 553(d)

Classroom-based training and instruction in emergency evacuation procedures alone has been found to be inadequate. Experience in other jurisdictions with periodic physical mock evacuations show that, while being costly and time consuming, mock evacuations pay large dividends in terms of developing a practical, feasible, efficient and effective evacuation system.

A mock evacuation allows the evacuation plan and procedures to be demonstrated in the actual workplace and can provide valuable information to ensure the best results in the event of a real emergency. Mock evacuations can identify significant deficiencies like stretchers that may not fit in transport vehicles, insufficient or misplaced self-rescuer devices and defective lifelines. All such deficiencies can then be corrected to improve performance in any subsequent real emergency evacuation.