Keeping Mobile Equipment in Underground Mines Safe

[TITLE: Mobile Equipment in Underground Mines]

[A large red front-end loader truck approaches the camera inside a mine. Patrick Vaillancourt is seen standing outside, with the mine shaft elevators visible in the background. He introduces himself and the topic of the video.]

PATRICK VAILLANCOURT >> I'm Patrick Vaillancourt, Occupational Health & Safety Inspector with the Ministry of Labour, Mining Division, in Timmins, northern Ontario. We are at Xstrata Copper, at the Kidd Creek Mine in Timmins, Ontario.

We're here today for an inspection of the underground, specifically we're going to be looking at mobile equipment.

[Vaillancourt arrives at the mine site]

SECURITY GUARD >> How are you?

PATRICK VAILLANCOURT >> Good thank you. Ministry of Labour. I'm here for a site inspection. I'd like to see the Mucking Superintendent, please, and the worker rep.

[Interview with Vaillancourt continues]

PATRICK VAILLANCOURT >> When I arrive at the mine, I ask for management representation as well as somebody from the Joint Health and Safety Committee.  When we're ready to go underground, we dress in mining gear, get the proper safety equipment and proceed to tag in.

[Vaillancourt looks at a tag board to determine how many workers are underground]

PATRICK VAILLANCOURT >> Okay, we'll see how many we have.

[Interview with Vaillancourt continues]

PATRICK VAILLANCOURT >> The tag board is used, primarily to identify which workers are underground and where they can be located in the event of an emergency. Once we tag in, we get to a cage or a form of transportation to get underground and we proceed with the visit.

When I encounter workers underground, I ensure that they are trained to the Ontario Common Core and to the equipment they are operating. Workers are required to wear personal protective equipment appropriate to the task at hand - a hard hat, safety glasses, steel toe boots, coveralls with reflective striping and gloves.

[Workers descend into mine and proceed down tunnel in large vehicle.]

PATRICK VAILLANCOURT >> When I encounter equipment underground, I ensure the equipment has been pre-checked prior to use and that the equipment has also been maintained to the Ontario standards.

[Vaillancourt approaches a worker to ask him about the procedure for starting the worker’s vehicle]

PATRICK VAILLANCOURT >> I'm a mining inspector. I'm here to do an inspection of mobile equipment. Have you done your pre-start yet?

MINER >> I'm just about to.

PATRICK VAILLANCOURT >> Perfect. Do you mind if we tag along and watch you do what you're doing and you can explain to me what you're looking for?

MINER >> Sure.

[Interview with Vaillancourt continues on soundtrack]

PATRICK VAILLANCOURT >>Today we'll be looking at a LHD, Load Haul Dump, which is commonly known as a scoop tram. When we're doing our pre-start, we're ensuring that the equipment we're using is functional as required including the brakes, the lights, the steering, the alarms and horns, that the tires are in good order and ready to use.

MINER >> I'm looking at my drive line to make sure the bolts are all nice and tight.


MINER >> Okay so now I'm looking at my hansel system.


MINER >> We look for any type of dents, any type of wear.

[Interview with Vaillancourt continues on soundtrack]

PATRICK VAILLANCOURT >> Making sure that the fire extinguishers were inspected and ready to be used in case of an emergency. We ensure that the equipment has wheel chocks, for parking, and make sure that the operator is trained to use the equipment he is on.

[Miner moves on to another part of the vehicle]

MINER >>Now I'm going to check my motor mounts.


MINER >>The motor mounts look fine.

[Interview with Vaillancourt continues]

PATRICK VAILLANCOURT >> Pre-start is done prior to operating the machine and they also do a post-start, once he's started the machine and it is operational.

[Miner moves to the rear of the vehicle]

MINER >>I'm going to check my oil.

[Interview with Vaillancourt continues]

PATRICK VAILLANCOURT >> Should an operator find a piece of equipment to be faulty, he has to tag it down and call a mechanic to have it repaired. Machines are not to be used in a defective state.

During my inspection, I ensure that all diesel equipment meets required legislation and inspections are done on a routine basis.

[Mining vehicle drives into tunnel]

PATRICK VAILLANCOURT >> The operators must know how much air is available to use and how much air their equipment uses.

[TITLE: Emissions from diesel-powered equipment must be monitored to maintain safe air quality.]

[Mining vehicle moves towards pile of rubble]

[TITLE: Muck piles must be washed down prior to scooping to control dust.]

PATRICK VAILLANCOURT >> Employers must provide records of diesel emission testing as well as maintenance records. When I'm doing an inspection, I ensure that ventilation is up to standards. I ensure that there's no rips in the vent tubing, the fans are on where they're supposed to be on, and the appropriate amount of air is supplied for the equipment being used on the levels.

I request training transcripts…

[Vaillancourt speaks with an employee to acquire training records]

PATRICK VAILLANCOURT >> I'd like to get a copy of his training records just to review them? And we're just going to review the emissions testing and the latest maintenance done to the unit.

[Interview with Vaillancourt continues]

PATRICK VAILLANCOURT >> …as well as maintenance documents of all the vehicles we encounter.

[A worker raises a garage-style door and other workers walk through]

PATRICK VAILLANCOURT >> Mining is not a hazardous job. It is a job with hazards. And with proper procedures, these hazards can be eliminated.

[Sound from mining vehicle]

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