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Part E: Local Development, Labour, Health and Safety - 42. Occupational Health and Safety | 42.3 Inspection of Mines

Inspection of mines are carried out to ensure that mining operations are conducted in compliance with the standards established by law. Most mining laws and regulations include sections on inspections. They may also be detailed in a health and safety law or other national law. The requirement for mine inspections can also be found in the ILO Safety and Health in Mines Convention, 1995 (No. 176). Consequently, countries who have ratified the convention may want to cascade down the requirements that flow from the Convention or reference the Convention or other applicable national law in the mining law. A law may mandate a minimum number of regular inspections (usually every six months or once a year) and one of such inspections should be required before the opening of a new mine. An investigative kind of inspection may also be conducted that is focuses on specific issues such as high risk areas, equipment or practices. An investigative inspection of mines may be part of a regular mine risk assessment or based on a complaint. Consequently, it is important to provide for anonymous reporting of non-compliance which allows the public and mine workers to assist in monitoring mine safety. An effective inspection depends significantly on the expertise and professionalism of the inspectors. Making rules on the procedures for mine inspection allows for a transparent process for mining operators and provides clear guidelines for inspectors. A finding of non-compliance may, based on the level of risk, provide for a chance to cure and/or a penalty.

42.3 Example 1:

Article [_]

(1) A [Regulating Authority] may, at a reasonable time in the day or in the night and on the production of the appropriate authorization

(a) enter, inspect and examine a mine in a manner that does not unnecessarily impede or obstruct the working of the mine;

(b) examine and inquire into

(i) the state and condition of a mine or part of the mine and of matters and things that pertain to the mine in so far as they relate to the safety or health of persons employed in the mine, and

(ii) matters relating to these regulations, to minimize any damage that may be caused to the environment by mining and mining related operations; and

(c) enforce compliance with these regulations.

(2) For the purpose of an examination, inspection, or enquiry, an inspector may invite the manager of a mine or an official of the mine not below the rank of a mine captain or its equivalent, together with any other official or employee that the inspector considers necessary to accompany the inspector and that manager, official or employee shall comply with the request.

(3) A [Regulating Authority] may:

(a) take samples of minerals and other substances from a mine

(i) for the purpose of analysis or testing; or

(ii) for use in evidence in connection with an offence against these regulations, and

(b) for the purposes of inspection,

(i) take extracts from or make copies of a document, or

(ii) take photos of a mine.

(4) A [Regulating Authority] shall give a receipt for any object or document removed or taken in the course of the performance of the Inspector’s functions.

(5) A [Regulating Authority] may, by written notice to a holder of a mining lease, or the manager of a mine, order

(a) the cessation of operations in, and the withdrawal of any or all persons from the mine or part of the mine where the inspector considers necessary in the interest of safety health or the environment; or

(b) the discontinuance of the use of a machinery that the Inspector considers unsafe, until the action necessary for safety as specified in the notice is taken and completed.

(6) Where the [Regulating Authority] is of the opinion that a circumstance, practice or omission in a mine or part of the mine is so defective or dangerous as to be likely to cause bodily injury or cause damage to any property and there is no provision in these regulations concerning that situation, the Inspector shall:

(a) make an order which directs the holder or the manager of the mine to remedy the situation immediately or within the time specified by the Inspector, and

(b) confirm the order by notice in writing, specifying the matters considered defective or dangerous and which the holder or manager is required to remedy immediately or within the time specified in the order.

(7) A holder or manager who does not comply with an order made under sub-regulation (5) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than [fifteen thousand penalty units] or a term of imprisonment of not more than twenty-five years or to both.

(8) A holder or manager may appeal against an order made by an Inspector under this regulation.

(9) A copy of an order made under this regulation shall be kept as part of the record required to be maintained under the record keeping obligations under this [Law][Act][Code].

(10) A [Regulating Authority] may

(a) obtain and record statements from witnesses, or conduct enquiries regarding mine accidents, dangerous occurrences and contraventions of these regulations

(b) appear at inquests and call and examine witnesses and cross-examine witnesses, and

(c) conduct a prosecution for an offence under these regulations.

(11) A [Regulating Authority] may:

(a) exercise any power that is necessary for giving effect to these regulations; and

(b) impose penalties specified or deemed appropriate for an offence under these Regulations.

(12) A [Regulating Authority], in exercising the powers specified under these Regulations, may be assisted by a person who the inspector believes has special or expert knowledge of the matter being inspected, tested or examined.

Annotation

Drawn from Ghana’s mining health and safety law (2012), this provision outlines the powers of inspectors, including the times for inspections as well as the mode of inspection. It allows the inspector to take samples of minerals and other substances as well as photos and extracts from documents. The inspector may also direct that remedial measures be taken to the interest of safety, health and the environment. Non-compliance with such directives attracts punitive measures.

42.3 Example 2:

Article [_]

(1) Any authorized Inspector of the [Regulating Authority] may enter, during office hours, any license area and may:

a) inspect any activity or process carried out in or upon the area in question;

b) inspect any book, record, statement or other document and make copies or extracts thereof;

c) examine any material or appliance found in the area;

d) take samples of any material and test, examine, analyse and classify such samples;

e) S\seize any material, appliance, book, record, statement or other document which might be relevant to a legal proceeding involving the violation of this [Law][Act][Code], regulations or directives and keep it in the custody of the [Regulating Authority]; and

f) require support necessary for the accomplishment of the inspection in accordance with this sub-article.

(2) Where any material, appliance, book, record, statement or other document is put under the custody of the [Regulating Authority] in accordance with sub-article ( 1)(e) of this Article:

a) the person from whose possession or control any document is taken shall be allowed, under the supervision of the Inspector, to make copies or extracts thereof;

b) if no legal proceedings are instituted in connection with any of the items seized, or if it appears that such item is not required at any trial for the purpose of evidence or upon an order of court, that item shall be returned immediately to the person from whom it was seized

(3) The Inspector shall show his letter of authorization to the appropriate officer of the licensee for conducting inspection under sub-article (1) of this Article.

Annotation

Drawn from Ethiopia’s mining law (2010), this provision describes the powers and the scope of (inspection) activities of an authorized inspector of a mine. Unlike Example 1, this provision provides for the inspector, clear seizure powers of materials that may be relevant to a legal proceeding.