8 October 2018 by and Employment Alert

Mine health and safety: Regulations relating to competent persons for explosives

On 14 September 2018, the Minister of Mineral Resources, Gwede Mantashe, amended Chapter 4 and Chapter 22 of the Regulations under s8(1) of the Mine Health and Safety Act, 1996 (Act, No 29 of 1996) (MHSA).

Chapter 4 of the Regulations to the MHSA deals with explosives. In particular, regulation 4.4 (1) dictates that a competent person should be appointed to be a custodian of explosives and blasting procedures.

With the promulgation of these amendments, the MHSA regulations now prescribe the form and manner of appointment(s) of a competent person(s) who work with explosives.

Chapter 22.4 of the regulations has been amended and it provides as follows:

“22.4 Competent persons for explosives

22.4.1 For purposes of regulation 4.4(1) “competent person” means a person who is a holder of the following certificates recognized by the Department for this purpose, valid for the class of mine to which the mine belongs:

(a) Blasting certificate issued by the Department until 30 June 2009; or

(b) Rock breaker or equivalent certificate issued by the Mining Qualifications Authority from 1 July 2009 to 31 May 2017; or

(c)   Blasting certificate issued by the Department with effect from 1 June 2017.”

“22.4.2 For the purposes of regulation 4.4(3) “competent person” means a person who:

(a) has been assessed and found competent against a skills programme issued by the Mining Qualifications Authority for this purpose; or

(b) is qualified by:

(i)    virtue of his/her knowledge, training, skills and experience to perform the activities contemplated in regulation 4.4(3);

(ii)   being familiar with the provisions of regulation 4 which apply to the work to be performed by such person; and

(iii)  being trained to recognise any potential or actual danger to health or safety that may arise from the work to be performed by such person.”

Chapter 4 of the Regulations in the MHSA sets out the various obligations and responsibilities on employers when it comes to explosives, which include inter alia the following:

  • what security steps an employer must take when it comes to explosives and the accessibility of explosives;
  • employer’s obligations in relation to the receipt storage and transportation of explosives as well as how to dispose explosives upon mine closure;
  • approved explosives and usage of explosives at mines; and
  • individuals competent to perform blasting and the management control over explosives;
  • certification of blasting equipment.

These amendments will take effect three months after publication (ie on 14 December 2018).

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