Report: APP CMHS Project 4

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2.2.1. Legislation

The Alberta OH&S Code (2009) and the British Columbian Mines Act (1996) (to a lesser extent) detail requirements for hazard identification in the workplace.

In British Columbia, Health Safety & Reclamation Code for Mines in B.C. 1997 s 6.16 Refuge Stations requires refuge stations in underground mines after development where workings are more than 300m from a portal or shaft station. Every underground refuge station shall be: clearly identified, constructed of noncombustible material and of sufficient size to accommodate all persons working in the vicinity; equipped with a supply of air, water and communications to surface, a means of sealing to prevent entry of gas and first aid equipment; equipped with a mine plan clearly showing all exits; and located more than 10m from both explosives magazines and inflammable materials storage.

In Canada’s only operating underground coal mine in 2003/4, Quinsam, on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, they comply by using a portable refuge station on skids. It is a double-door, made of steel without fire resistance and insulation, with a volume of 18m3. It is equipped with oxygen, radio communication, telephone, sealant, first aid kit, survival kit, water, portable toilet.

Their evacuation procedure is simple: First, get out of the mine; second, only if immediate evacuation from the mine is not possible, use the refuge station. British Columbia has a Mine Rescue Manual, which details procedures for Refuge Stations and their Use and Alternate Emergency Refuge.

In Alberta, OHSA Mine Safety Regulation 292/95 December 21, 1995 s 54 requires refuge stations in all mines. A refuge station must have water, air and an effective communication system to the surface and be separated from adjacent areas such that gases can be prevented from entering.

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