MHSA pds new regulations tmm

New Machinery Regulations, 2014: Trackless Mobile Machinery and Equipment.


New Machinery Regulations have been published under Chapter 8 of the Mine Health and Safety Act Regulations. The new Regulations deal with Trackless Mobile Machinery (TMM) and do not replace any current Regulations incidentally dealing with TMM’s but rather add to it.


The new Regulations is a hybrid of a purely prescriptive approach and one which is risk based in that it is prescriptive, but only where a Mine has through a risk assessment process identified TMM operations as being a significant risk.




In terms of definitions, various are defined including “emergency brake”, “remote controlled”, “static test” and “fail to safe”.


One of the more important definitions is that of “trackless mobile machine”, as this to an extent clarifies the area of application of the new TMM Regulations. A TMM is defined as a self propelled machine that is used on surface or underground for performing mining, transport or associated operations at a mine. It is obvious that the definition of “mine” in Section 102 of the Act would have to be taken into consideration whenever a question of applying the Regulations to a given problem is considered. Certain Regulations (dealing with driver selection and training and carrying of mine licences) are however excluded from applying to road licensed vehicles (in terms of the National Road Traffic Act) AND which are not used for primary mining tasks. The implication is that all other vehicles, whether road legal or not, are to comply.


Collisions between TMM’s and pedestrians


The Regulations prescribe that reasonably practicable measures are to be implemented to prevent accidents between machines and employees where a significant risk of this happening is identified. This implies a thorough risk assessment process, where the definition of “reasonably practicable” in Section 102 of the Act must be formally considered. Where a significant risk exists, two separate scenarios are dealt with:


  1. Electrical/battery operated TMM’s. Devices to automatically detect pedestrians must be fitted which alarms both pedestrians and operators. Where no action is taken machines are to be automatically retarded and brought to a full stop where necessary.
  2. Underground diesel powered TMM’s. Detection devices are to be fitted which will alarm both pedestrians and operators. A separate Regulation dictates that where no action is taken, the TMM must be retarded and fail to safe if necessary. This is however excluded at present and will only come into power on a date to be determined.


Collisions between diesel powered TMM’s


In general, as with collisions between TMM’s and pedestrians, a risk based approach is to be followed (implying a specific TMM risk assessment) and controls implemented. Where a significant risk is found for opencast or open pit mines however, specific steps are to be taken. Automatic detection devices (to detect TMM’s) are to be fitted. Where a TMM is identified to be in close proximity, operators are to be warned. As with pedestrians, the regulations require machines to be retarded and stopped if no action is taken, but the retard/stop requirement will only come into power at a future date.


Warning devices between TMM’s and rail bound equipment in underground operations with a significant risk is also dealt with.


General issues


Some of the general risk based issues dealt with include:

  1. Uncontrolled running of TMM’s
  2. Roll over protection
  3. Operator/passenger protection form falling objects
  4. Falling from/out of TMM’s
  5. Operator visibility
  6. Braking systems
  7. Wheels, tyres and rims
  8. Access to and from TMM’s
  9. Visibility of TMM’s
  10. Unauthorised access and use
  11. Isolation and lock out
  12. Drafting of operating procedures
  13. Maintenance standards and procedures
  14. Towing and recovery of TMM’s
  15. Roadway conditions (including design and maintenance standards)
  16. Measures to prevent reversing over the edges of stockpiles and rock dumps
  17. Inadvertent movement


Battery charging and refueling facilities


These facilities are individually dealt with. Issues to be considered include ventilation, fire fighting measures and lighting. Of specific interest is the inclusion of 3 SANS codes dealing with petrochemical installations on surface (SANS 10089 parts 1,2 and 3). These are now mandatory and legally enforceable and will impact current installations (Note that this could impact on suppliers with on mine installations, as the obligation for compliance lies with the employer and not the contractor.)


Remote and remotely controlled TMM’s


As with diesel storage mentioned above, the Regulations now formally incorporate 7 SANS codes which become mandatory.




All trailers to be towed by TMM’s must be manufactured according to a design approved by a competent person. While “competent person” is not defined, it is submitted that the best policy would be to transfer this liability to the manufacturer as envisaged in Section 21 of the Act. A requirement for the implementation of procedures for the use of trailers is mandated.


Selection, training, appointment and licensing of operators.

Specific procedures for the selection etc. of operators are prescribed. This includes:

  1. Physical and psychological pre selection
  2. Theoretical, practical and on the job training
  3. Assessment by a competent person
  4. Authorisation in writing by 2.13.1
  5. Authorisation by supervisor detailing duties, area and equipment
  6. Re assessment where operator has been inactive for two years
  7. License to be issued (to be carried at all times) showing photo, employee number, machines authorised to operate and date of issue and expiry.


Pre use inspections


A procedure is to be drafted, which as a minimum must include:


  1. Pre shift inspection to be performed. Must include go, no go and go but criteria
  2. Inspection to confirm that safety features (brakes, lights etc.) are operational prior to setting in motion. This would seem to indicate that this would have to be performed during the shift after a machine had not been in motion.




The new Regulations will obviously have an impact on operations employing TMM’s. While there will obviously be the financial implications in terms of fitting Proximity Detection Devices, the following will have to be considered:

  1. Training of all operators and pedestrians on the use and limitations of personal warning devices
  2. In order to prove compliance, risk assessments specific to TMM’s would have to be considered. As they are not approved by any external agency, these would have to stand scrutiny following a worst case scenario (including a fatality). It would be very difficult (from a legal perspective) arguing that a critical risk did not exist where a TMM was involved in an accident.
  3. Various specific procedures are required to be drafted. We suggest that these be identified and drafted where not yet in place.
  4. The Regulations will have an impact on the Mandatory Code of Practice for TMM’s. In addition other MCOP’s will have to be aligned including the Fatigue Management MCOP (a specific procedure for fatigue management for operators is required to be drafted.)
  5. Currently the liability and responsibility for compliance rests on the employer. We suggest that some of the liability be shared with the OEM manufacturers and suppliers. Various examples of risk assessments and procedures included in the Regulations will entail obtaining information from the OEM. Where the OEM provides information it will serve as proof of the employer having considered the knowledge reasonably available regarding a hazard or risk as well as steps in mitigation thereof. (This is critical, as it forms part of the requirement of proving that the employer, manager or engineer had acted as far as is reasonably practicable)




The Regulations commences three months after publication. LCS has drafted an audit protocol which is used to measure current compliance levels with the new Regulations in order to identify gaps prior to the commencement of the Regulations. Please contact us for details.

Jaco Swartz

Managing Director

082 898 9463