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 General Safety Principles

Table of Contents
1.0 General Safety Principles
1.1 Health and Safety Programs
1.2 Due Diligence with Respect to Safety
   1.2.1 Employees' Rights with Respect to Due Diligence
      1.2.1.1 Right to Know
      1.2.1.2 Right to Refuse Unsafe Work
      1.2.1.3 Right to Participate
      1.2.1.4 Right to a Violence-free Workplace
   1.2.2 Responsibilities with Respect to Due Diligence
      1.2.2.1 Board of Directors
      1.2.2.2 Managers
      1.2.2.3 Supervisors
      1.2.2.4 Individual Employees and Workers
      1.2.2.5 Health and Safety Committee Members or Safety Representatives
   1.2.3 Training
   1.2.4 Inspections and Audits
   1.2.5 Documentation
1.3 Internal Responsibility System
1.4 Resources

Introduction

Any person in authority in an exploration program or company should be aware of the laws and regulations that cover occupational health and safety in the area where the program takes place. The comments below are for Canada, and the structure regarding regulations of health and safety may be different elsewhere. 

Occupational health and safety (OHS) legislation and regulations, which cover mineral exploration activities, are provided at the federal, provincial and territorial levels. The federal legislation, the Canada Labour Code Part II, covers all employees working under federal jurisdiction. Provincial and territorial OHS legislation and regulations are modeled on the Canada Labour Code Part II. In addition, provincial and territorial jurisdictions have legislation that includes Mines Health and Safety Codes, Acts and Regulations. The rights and responsibilities of various workplace parties are similar across Canada, although the specific requirements of the laws and regulations vary between jurisdictions. It is important for each mineral exploration company to be familiar with the legislation and regulations of the jurisdictions where they conduct work as the material provided herein contains only statements of general principles, not legal opinions, and should not be acted upon without first consulting a lawyer qualified and competent to provide analysis and advice on specific matters in your jurisdiction. 

Exploration staff often do not realize that in some Canadian jurisdictions, the definition of a mine for health and safety purposes includes exploration (from the Mines Act and Regulations in the Northwest Territories of Canada). 

Definition: Mine-a place where the ground is mechanically disturbed or an excavation is made to explore for or to produce minerals, other than a place where persons use only hand tools to explore for minerals. 

Note also that these guidelines frequently refer to employee. Many points made with regards to employees may also apply to other people on an exploration work site. 

These other people may include:
  • Casual business visitors who are not employees of the company
  • Casual non-business visitors who are not employees such as community representatives and possibly relatives of employees visiting a camp
  • Contractors and subcontractors employees