With the change of year comes turning over a new leaf. Along with setting your New Year’s resolutions, don’t forget to stay abreast with mining safety laws. Now is the perfect time to study up on regulations for 2015 so that you, and your employees, don’t slip through the cracks.
Depending on where you are mining or quarrying in the world, there will be a lattice of laws regarding health and safety. At General Kinematics, we’ve started thumbing through The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Mining Law 2015. Here, we summarize a few points from chapter 38 for the United Kingdom, as outlined by the contributors John Dewar and Felicia Hanson Ofori-Quaah on behalf of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP.
Take a look: It will help get the wheels turning. Then investigate the specific 2015 mining safety regulations for the mining site and quarry locations that you own and run.
The health and safety regulations for mining in the UK are imposed on the owners, employers, managers, and employees.
Multiple legislative bodies govern the health and safety regulations: the MQA, MQTA, the Management and Administration of Safety and Health at Mines Regulations 1993, and the Quarries Regulations 1999.
Add another layer of legislation, though, for the governing bodies that oversee the health and safety standard in the general workplace: the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
You can see, there’s a bucket-load of statues to abide by and to be aware of.
But wait, there’s more: The legislation created by those governing bodies is also infused with industry-specific secondary legislation including regulations that are related to the control of noise, vibration, electricity, explosives and explosive atmosphere, dangerous substances, the reporting of incidents, diseases, dangerous occurrences, and the provision and use of equipment.
For example, in the UK land that’s being mined and quarried is guided by the law of nuisance and some nuisances that are a threat to health and safety constitute a statutory nuisance.
So, what exactly does it mean to create a nuisance?
Activities that fall within the “law of nuisance” include: the emission of dust or noxious fumes, releasing polluting effluents into a river, noise and vibration, and debris created by blasting. If the noise that’s produced is prejudicial to health then it likewise constitutes a statutory nuisance pursuant to the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Furthermore, the employers of mines and quarries owe a “common law duty” to each employee—to be reasonably careful and safe, and to mitigate unnecessary risk—and any occupier of a mine owes that same common law duty to those visiting the premises under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957.
If the person who’s protected under the law experiences injury, then that individual is entitled to recover damages, and the mine or quarry owner may be liable for both negligence and for a breach of statutory duty.
These are just a handful of the specific health and safety guidelines that you should study regarding the specific location of your mine or quarry.
For 2015, make sure to look into all of the regulations created by the various governing bodies. Train your management well, and hold multiple educational sessions throughout the year to ensure that your employees are well versed in sound safety and health practices.