Traffic management programs in mines
Learn about the legal requirements and best practices for traffic management programs in mines.
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This resource does not replace the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations, and should not be used as or considered legal advice. Health and safety inspectors apply the law based on the facts in the workplace.
- To provide information to assist workplaces to assess traffic-related hazards.
- To provide guidance on what to consider when developing traffic management programs.
- To reduce the number of incidents caused by motor vehicle collisions, reducing the risk of injury to workers.
Definition of terms under Regulation 854
A vehicle propelled by other than muscular power, including automobiles, caterpillar-tracked vehicles, trucks, tractors and motor vehicles running on rails, but not including locomotives.
Traffic management program (TMP)
Also known as a traffic management plan or traffic control plan/program, a TMP is a collection of controls, measures and procedures meant to clearly control motor vehicle traffic in a mine and prevent collisions and injuries to workers and pedestrians. It should outline the controls that need to be in place during both normal and unusual traffic conditions.
Sections of Regulation 854 that apply
Regulation 854 – Mines and Mining Plants (section 105.1) sets out the requirements for a written traffic management program (TMP). Certain measures and procedures must be included in every TMP, with additional elements dependent on the nature of the workplace. The TMP must be developed in consultation with the joint health and safety committee (JHSC) or health and safety representative (HSR).
The requirement to develop and maintain a TMP is an addition to the general requirements in sections 5.1 to 5.3 of Regulation 854 to conduct an overall risk assessment of the workplace and to develop measures to eliminate or control hazards identified as a result of that assessment. However, the results of the risk assessment should be considered in the development of the TMP.
Other requirements in Reg. 854 may relate to traffic management either directly or indirectly. These other requirements in the Regulation should also be considered in the development of the TMP. They include, but are not limited to:
- risk assessment (s. 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3)
- motor vehicles on rails (s.103)
- mobile equipment (s. 105)
- maintain rail tracks (s. 109)
- disabled equipment and vehicles on ramps (s. 106)
- transporting of material and workers (s.110)
- haulageways (s. 112)
- safety stations (s. 114)
- haulage roads on surface (s. 116)
- vehicles carrying explosives (s. 135)
- high visibility safety apparel (s. 262 and 263)
- dust control (s. 266)
Any time workers interact with motor vehicles (both tracked and trackless) in surface and underground mines, there is a significant risk of collision.
Incidents are generally one of three kinds:
- motor vehicle and motor vehicle
- motor vehicle and worker/pedestrian
- motor vehicle and fixed object
Incidents can occur because of:
- limited visibility
- inadequate separation
- loss of control or lack of attention by either the operator or a worker/pedestrian in the vicinity of the motor vehicle
- inadequate traffic controls
People who are struck by motor vehicles often suffer serious injuries or fatalities. Measures and controls must be put in place to minimize these occurrences and injuries.
Actions for workplace parties
Measures and controls
The TMP must include measures and procedures designed specifically to:
- prevent collisions that may endanger the health and safety of workers by addressing hazards relating to reduced visibility
- protect the health and safety of workers and pedestrians who may be endangered by the movement of motor vehicles, including motor vehicles on rails
In addition, any hazards or potential hazards identified in the required risk assessment (s. 5.1) and the required measures to eliminate or control those hazards (s. 5.2) should be considered in the development of the TMP. Finally, the categories of issues (and associated requirements) that follows should also be considered by employers when developing the TMP.
Once developed, the employer is responsible for ensuring that the measures and procedures outlined in the program are followed in that workplace.
- Ensure motor vehicles have sufficient lighting, clean windows and clean mirrors, and that these are maintained to provide unobstructed visibility (section 105).
- Ensure the workplace is effectively lit or illuminated where required (sections 105, 263).
- Ensure measures are taken to minimize airborne dusts, which, in addition to being a serious health concern, could impede operator visibility (section 266).
- Alterations made to motor vehicles should not affect the line of sight of an operator. Blind spots should be minimized.
- Travelways and work areas should be designed and maintained to minimize obstruction and provide maximum visibility.
Where equipment with light-emitting diode (LED) or other sources of bright lighting is used, consider additional precautions that may be needed. While highly luminescent lights, such as LED lights, may improve visibility underground, they can also “wash out” other types of lighting (cab lamps, headlights, strobe lights, etc.), creating other potential hazards. Consider measures such as the installation of contrasting lights (such as blue lights) that reflect off the back (tunnel roof) to differentiate the vehicle from its surroundings (such as, other vehicles) for areas where equipment with LED lighting is used.
Where multiple trains are used on the same track in an underground mine, the rail track switches should be equipped with visual indicators showing the position of the switch and make sure the indicators are visible to operators so that the motor vehicle can be safely stopped if needed.
- Develop procedures for the management of disabled vehicles that will control traffic as required (section 106).
- Develop maps, level or site plans that are clear and use common symbols and terminology.
- Identify the safest routes to be taken by motor vehicles and pedestrians and clearly mark them on the map, level or site plan.
- Install required signage, barricades and other measures at appropriate locations to identify walkways, communicate travel rules and identify hazards and rights-of-way as have been set out in the site plan.
- Develop and implement right-of-way rules that will separate and ensure good flow of traffic that protects operators and pedestrians.
- Establish communication protocols between equipment operators.
- Implement and enforce speed limit rules that are appropriate to conditions.
- Identify suitable locations for parking of motor vehicles that will ensure parked equipment will not impede the flow of traffic.
- Where material is being loaded from one vehicle into another, separate that work area from pedestrian walkways and other work areas.
Where multiple trains are operated on the same track in an underground mine, protocols should be in place to avoid collisions and protect the health and safety of workers.
Protecting workers and pedestrians
- Ensure that all workers (and pedestrians) are provided with and wear appropriate high visibility safety apparel as prescribed, and that such apparel is maintained in good condition (sections 262 and 263).
- Ensure procedures are in place to keep workers and smaller vehicles away from vehicles with restricted views (for example blind spots around surface loaders) [subsection 105(6)].
- Ensure motor vehicles that are operated on rails have an audible warning system that can be sounded where a worker can be endangered or whenever the vehicle is about to move underground or in an enclosed building [section 103].
- Provide safe access and egress at the workplace (around offices, shops and fixed plant structures) to provide ample separation between motor vehicles and pedestrians.
- Establish protocols for pedestrian traffic (access to high-risk work areas).
- Establish communication protocols between equipment operators and pedestrians when they are approaching one another.
- Ensure that motor vehicles operated by remote control are equipped with a means of stopping immediately and safely in case of a failure or an emergency [clause 103(1)(h) and subsection 174(4)].
- Ensure that all visitors are made aware of the elements of the traffic management program that apply to them.
- Minimize or eliminate the use of unnecessary distractions (such as, cell phones) by equipment operators and pedestrians to ensure that they remain fully aware of their surroundings and hazards.
- Ensure that the TMP considers the potential implications to traffic of the hazards of transporting explosives (including rights of way) [clause 135(1)(b)].
- Consider and expand the use of new technologies such as back-up cameras and proximity detection systems.
- Consider the impact of environmental conditions in the development of controls. Potential hazards include snow, fog (including seasonal fogging at ramp portals), icing of roadways in cold weather and dust.
- Consider providing all workers who operate and/or work around motor vehicles with communication devices such as radios and promote continuous communication between these workers.
Roadway and rail design, construction and maintenance
- Ensure haulage roads on surface are designed, constructed and maintained in accordance with prescribed requirements (section 116).
- Ensure rail tracks in use are maintained in good condition [section 109].
- Ensure that, except where pedestrian traffic is effectively prevented, clearances exist to provide a minimum of 1.5 metres of space beside the largest piece of equipment using the haulageway. Where the haulageway is regularly used by pedestrians, clearances must be 2 metres or greater (section 112). Alternatively, safety stations must be installed as prescribed in subsection 114(1) of the Regulation.
- Ensure roadways and travelways are constructed to provide sufficient widths and clearance for one-way or two-way traffic, as appropriate, and for vehicles to travel and pass each other safely [subsection 116(1)].
- Design roadways with a minimum number of sharp corners and intersections and avoid steep grades wherever practical [subsection 116(1)].
- Provide and maintain adequate safety berms on roadways, benches, levels, dumps and stockpiles that will keep a vehicle on the roadway and under control.
- Minimize loose material on roadways and travelways as it can adversely affect operator control of a vehicle. Loose materials can also be ejected as projectiles from moving traffic, presenting a hazard to workers, pedestrians and other vehicles.
- Roads should be constructed using appropriate materials that will resist damage and road failure. Underground and surface roadways should be constructed with crowns that will disperse water to the road edges and minimize pooling and puddles.
Workers and supervisors should be aware of:
- hazards that they could be exposed to
- controls that are in place to prevent harm
- their responsibilities when implementing the controls and participating in traffic management programs
Workers, the joint health and safety committee (JHSC) and representatives must also understand their roles in the program and how the program controls traffic hazards at their workplaces. Additionally, workers must be informed about where to seek solutions to concerns or answers to questions related to hazards.
Information or instruction that should be provided to workers includes:
- an overview of the requirement for a traffic management program and the purpose of the program
- general information regarding motor vehicle hazards and their locations
- what controls are in place to protect workers and pedestrians
- how traffic is being controlled to avoid collisions
- an overview of the procedures and expectations of the traffic management program as it applies to their work and where to seek additional information if questions arise
The information should recognize a worker’s role in the workplace and how traffic is being managed in areas where they work.
As changes to the traffic management program are made through the annual review or the introduction of new controls, workers and the joint health and safety committee (JHSC) or health and safety representative (HSR) may require additional information and instruction.
The information can be provided to workers at crew meetings, safety huddles or similar opportunities. Records of instruction or training provided should be retained for review by an inspector. Training facilities such as Workplace Safety North (WSN) can help workplaces with these training requirements.
Consultation with the committee or representative
Employers must develop and maintain a traffic management program in consultation with the JHSC or HSR, if any (subsection 105.1 (1)).
Where the OHSA or its regulations require that an action be taken in consultation with another party, including but not limited to the JHSC or HSR, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development expects that the employer will engage in a meaningful interaction (including dialogue, discussion and providing all relevant information) with the JHSC or HSR.
There should be a genuine opportunity for the JHSC to comment, and those comments should be received and considered in good faith. This includes taking into account any feedback and responses from the JHSC or HSR before taking action (such as, implementing a plan, program etc.) and responding to any recommendation arising out of the consultation.
Consultation is not simply informing the JHSC or the HSR that the employer intends to take action.
Review of the program
Section 105.1(3) of Reg. 854 requires that the employer provide a copy of the program to the JHSC or HSR. The employer is also required to maintain a copy at the mine site. This copy must be readily available to an inspector at his or her request.
The traffic management program must be reviewed at least annually. The review should consider any changes that have occurred that may affect the TMP in the intervening period, including any incidents, to ensure that the measures and procedures adequately protect worker health and safety.
As part of this review, mines should create a document for each mine site that outlines a mutually agreeable process between the mine employer and the JHSC members, and that can be used for record keeping purposes. The employer should ensure that the TMP is also available for review by the JHSC or the HSR.
Always call 911 in an emergency.
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