OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 36 Mining

Section 710 Removal of ground supports

Subsection 710(1)

Ground supports are installed to protect workers from roof or rib collapse and to maintain the structural integrity of underground openings. The installation of ground support systems is specified by a geotechnical engineer and installations are completed according to the mine manager’s code of practice as noted in section 709. Due to the overall impact on mine stability and related worker safety, ground supports cannot be removed without the permission of a mine official. According to this Part, that mine official is either the underground coal mine manager or underground coal mine foreman.

Subsection 710(2)

Since removal of ground supports could lead to imminent ground collapse, the mine manager must ensure that workers are protected from falling ground by further ensuring that temporary supports are in place. Materials for such temporary supports must be readily available to the workers and installed prior to the designed supports being removed.

Subsection 710(3)

Worker safety is the ultimate concern. If a hazardous situation could quickly develop, despite subsection (2), other supports must not be used under the conditions specified unless related procedures have been certified by a professional engineer according to subsection (4).

Subsection 710(4)

The removal of supports from the area of the gob or from under an insecure roof could place a worker at significant risk of injury from falling ground. For this reason, it is mandatory that a professional engineer develop and certify the means and methodology to be used. By using certified safe work procedures the related hazard to mine workers should be minimized.