Labour & Regulatory Services - Workplace, Safety & Health

FAQs: Regulation and Operation of Mines Regulation Amendments

When are the amendments in effect?

Amendments took effect September 27, 2019.


Occupational Exposure Limits

What is an occupational exposure limit?

This is the amount of a hazardous airborne substance that a worker can legally be exposed to at work.

What are the occupational exposure limits?

Manitoba has adopted the 2019 American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) threshold limit values (TLV) as the occupational exposure limits for provincially regulated workplaces.

For more information about the exposure limit for specific chemicals, you can contact WSH by email at wshcompl@gov.mb.ca or by phone at 1-855-975-7233 and select Option 1 to speak to an officer.

Do the values change every year?

The levels will not change unless a regulatory amendment is made to set different exposure levels.

WSH will continue to monitor scientific evidence, equipment and exposure limits in other jurisdictions in order to ensure Manitoba’s occupational exposure limits are appropriate. In addition, the director of WSH is required to seek input about exposure limits at least once every three years.

 

Automatic Adoption of Standards

What year of a standard do I need to follow?

Standards are broken up into two types: products or processes.

Product standards outline the requirements for tools, machines, and other objects. An example of a product standard is CSA Z195, Protective Footwear. When a tool, machine or object must meet a standard, it must comply with the edition of the standard that was in place at the time of manufacture.

An example of a process standard is CSA Z105.1, Guideline on Selection, Care and Use of Protective Footwear. For processes, the edition of the standard listed in regulation is required to be met. However, complying with a newer version of the same standard is also accepted.

 

Confined space

What changes have occurred?

Manitoba now distinguishes between low-risk and high-risk confined spaces, and outlines the control measures required for each. This will help to address confusion and prevent unnecessary measures from being taken in low risk situations.

The definition for a “confined space” has not changed. A confined space is an enclosed or partially enclosed space that is not designed for human occupancy and has restricted means of entry or exit.

However, a new definition for “hazardous confined space” has been created. A "hazardous confined space" is a confined space that may become unsafe due to the design or atmosphere of the space; or the materials, equipment or substances that are in the space.

For example, an attic is a confined space. However, exhaust from equipment used in the attic may result in the space becoming a hazardous confined space. 


How will this affect confined space work currently being done?

The new regulatory changes will have minimal impact on current confined space work, as the work is reviewed during the primary assessment phase of a project. Going forward, work spaces will have to be classified as either a “confined space” or a “hazardous confined space”. The controls required depends on which classification the space falls into.

 

Rope Access

What are the reasons for introducing rope access requirements?

In recent years, the technique of using rope access to reach hard-to-reach areas has been used as an alternative to traditional scaffolding and crane applications. This practice is rapidly growing within Manitoba and other Canadian jurisdictions, and clear requirements for training, equipment and processes  ensure work is done safely.

The amendments are consistent with the Canadian jurisdictions that already have provisions for rope access and will remove the need to apply for an exemption, which was previously required in order to perform this work.


What type of certification and training is required to do rope access work?

Workers performing rope access work are required to have a valid certificate issued by either the Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians (SPRAT) or Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA).

Before allowing a worker to perform rope access work, the employer must ensure that the worker has received training and practical experience hours in accordance with one or both of the following:

  • International Code of Practice (2014) and Training Assessment and Certification Scheme (2015), published by IRATA
  • Safe Practices for Rope Access Work (2017) and Certification Requirements for Rope Access Work (2019), published by SPRAT

Will I need new equipment for doing rope access work?

Equipment used in rope access work must meet the requirements of either the International Code of Practice, published by IRATA; or Safe Practices for Rope Access Work, published by SPRAT.

It is important to note that equipment designed for fall protection and suspended work platforms is not intended for rope access work.

 

Impairment

Why was the section on alcohol and drugs added to the Workplace Safety and Health Regulation?

This addition reflects current expectations regarding impairment in the workplace and aligns the Workplace Safety and Health Regulation with existing provisions in the Operation of Mines Regulation.  

Employers must ensure employees do not work while under the influence of alcohol or a drug that could impair the worker’s ability to perform work safely.  Similarly, a worker must not work while under the influence of alcohol or a drug that impairs or could impair the worker’s ability to perform work safely. 

 

Fixed Ladders

Do I need to purchase a new fixed ladder?

No, the regulations were amended to more closely align with other jurisdictions to require rest platforms starting at 9 meters (30 feet) and every 5 meters (16 feet) thereafter.

If my first rest platform is at 5 meters, do I need to remove that platform?

No, providing the first rest platform at 5 meters exceeds the current requirements.

 

Safety and Health Committee Minutes

Do we need to send safety and health committee minutes to Workplace Safety and Health anymore?

No, it is no longer necessary to send a copy of your safety and health committee minutes to Workplace Safety and Health. Safety and Health Officers have the authority to request or view copies of minutes as needed.

It is important to note the amendment does not affect the requirement to prepare and store safety and health minutes at the workplace. Employers are still required to maintain records of committee minutes for 10 years.

 

Competent MSI Assessment

Why must a musculoskeletal injury risk assessment be carried out by a “competent” person?

Musculoskeletal injury (MSI) is one of the highest causes of worker injury accepted by the Workers Compensation Board in Manitoba. The risk of MSI must be adequately assessed in order to ensure that proper control measures are implemented to prevent future injury.  

 

Definition of Designated Materials

Why did the definition of “designated material” change?  

The definition for designated material was amended to align with updated Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) terminology. The amendment replaces the terms “ferotoxin” and “teratogen” with the term “reproductive toxin”. A reproductive toxin is a broad category that encompasses effects on sexual function, fertility and fetal development, as well as effects on, or via, lactation. The rest of the definition remains the same.

 

Flagperson

Why was the definition changed?

The definition of flagperson was simplified to make it easier to understand and to align with the definition in the Highway Traffic Act.  Flagperson means a person whose work involves directing the movement of traffic on any portion of a street or highway.  The change was made to clarify the definition and does not change the intent or requirements.


What changed in the new Flagperson Manual?

The title of the manual was changed from “Flaggers Training Manual” to “Manitoba Flagperson Training Manual”.  The content of the manual was not changed.  Current flagperson certifications are valid until the date of expiration and approved training agencies can continue to provide training.

 

Moving Peat Moss Operations from the Operation of Mines Regulation to the Workplace Safety and Health Regulation

Why is it being changed?

Recent amendments to The Mines and Minerals Act removed peat operations from being defined as mines. As mining under the Operation of Mines Regulation has the same meaning as in The Mines and Minerals Act, the definition of “mine” was updated to be consistent.  

Safety and health requirements for peat operations now fall under the Workplace Safety and Health Regulation instead of the Operation of Mines Regulation.  The general provisions of the Workplace Safety and Health Regulation appropriately govern the safety and health risks in peat operations.

 

Definition of Quarry

Why were the “quarry” and “quarry minerals” definitions changed?

The definitions were changed to correct a drafting error in the Operation of Mines Regulation. This correction clarifies and confirms that quarries and gravel pits fall under the provisions of the Operation of Mines Regulation.

 

Drilling near Misholes

Why was the distance changed when drilling near misholes?

Following a blast, it is necessary to stabilize the back (overhead) and sides of the “tunnel”.  Reducing the distance for drilling around unexploded material from 1.5 metre to 1 metre allows for installation of effective ground support closer to the mishole, but maintains enough distance to prevent contact with it.

 

Drilling near a Trace

What changes have occurred in relation to drilling near a trace?

A trace or barrel is a remnant of a blasting hole that may appear after the explosives have detonated. Traces may have explosive residue that must be removed before drilling can continue near them. This amendment ensures the area is “washed and cleaned” before drilling, which more accurately captures expectations for the different types of explosives used (e.g., water-soluble, emulsion). 

 

Competent Worker Inspections (Moulds, Ladles, Slag Pots)

Why was the term “certified person” replaced with the term “competent person” with respect to mould, ladle and slag pot inspections in the Operations of Mines?

This amendment is to clarify who can inspect moulds, ladles and slag pots in mining. The previous wording required a “certified person” to conduct the training. This caused confusion, as no certification course exists for this type of work. Replacing the term “certified” with “competent” clarifies compliance expectations.

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