OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 36 Mining

Section 749 Water or gas

Subsection 749(1)

Accumulations of water and/or gas pose a major hazard to underground coal mine workers. These can occur either within the rock mass itself or in old, sometimes uncharted, abandoned workings, or as bodies of surface water and/or unconsolidated materials such as peat, lying in deep ravines, gullies or cracks in the bedrock surface. To minimize the potential for an inrush of water/gas into the workings, an employer must ensure that no working face approaches within 50 metres (150 feet) of the surface or within either 50 meters vertically or 100 meters (330 feet) in plan view of any area of potential or known water or gas accumulation.

These dimensions relate to the horizontal and vertical separation distances between active workings and possible areas of accumulation. The mandatory separation distances must be maintained until any inactive workings have been examined and the absence of water or gas accumulation confirmed. Exemptions to these restrictions must be approved by the Director.

Subsection 749(2)

Such an approval will only be provided after a written application including a scheme certificate by a professional engineer. A certificate by a professional engineer provides a level of assurance that all relevant safety factors have been considered.

Subsection 749(3)

The employer must ensure that until the Director’s formal written approval has been received, the specified limits are not encroached upon.