South Africa’s DMRE puts Level 9 vehicle intervention for collision avoidance in mining into law

South Africa’s DMRE puts Level 9 vehicle intervention for collision avoidance in mining into law

After years of uncertainty as to when it might actually be mandated – South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) has brought into law the Chapter 8 clauses of the Mine Health and Safety Act Regulations relating to Level 9 vehicle intervention for collision avoidance in trackless mobile machinery, both surface and underground.

The gazette was published December 21, 2022 meaning it is now law. IM understands that the mines that are not compliant (which is most of them) have to now apply for an exemption including detailed timelines with milestones and deliverables. While the gazette did not mention the exemptions, this is an issue which the Chief Inspector of Mines had alluded to in discussions with the Chairperson of the CEO Zero Harm Forum of the Minerals Council of South Africa.

The gazetting process began with an advisory note from the Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC), a statutory body that advises the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), which was submitted to the Minister for consideration and as he deemed it fit, he duly published the gazette. It states: “I Samson Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, under section 98 (1)(h) of the Mine Health and Safety Act, 1996 (act No.29 of 1996) and after consultation with the Council, hereby determine the date of publication of this notice in the government gazette as the date on which sub-regulations 8.10.1.2(b) and 8.10.2.1(b) in Chapter 8 of the regulations to the Mine Health and Safety Act, 1996 shall come into operation.”

All underground diesel powered trackless mobile machines must be provided with means: to automatically detect the presence of any pedestrian within its vicinity. Upon detecting the presence of a pedestrian, the operator of the diesel powered trackless mobile machine and the pedestrian shall be warned of each other’s presence by means of an effective warning; and then 8.10.1.2(b) states: “in the event where no action is taken to prevent potential collision, further means shall be provided to retard the diesel powered trackless mobile machine to a safe speed where after the brakes of the diesel powered trackless mobile machine are automatically applied. The prevent potential collision system on the diesel powered trackless mobile machine must fail to safe without human intervention.”

In addition, every diesel powered trackless mobile machine must be provided with means to automatically detect the presence of any other diesel powered trackless mobile machine within its vicinity; and upon detecting the presence of another diesel powered trackless mobile machine, the operators of both diesel powered trackless mobile machines shall be warned of each other’s presence by means of an effective warning; and 8.10.2.1(b) then has the same wording as 8.10.1.2(b).

Image courtesy Strata Worldwide

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