Mines and Quarries Act, 1965

Limit of hours of work below ground in mines.

113.—(1) For the purposes of the subsequent provisions of this Part, “workman” means any person employed in a mine below ground, who is not an official of the mine (other than a deputy), or a mechanic or electrician, or a person engaged solely in surveying or measuring; and any number of workmen whose hours for beginning and terminating work in the mine are approximately the same shall be deemed to be a shift of workmen.

(2) Subject to the provisions of this Part a workman shall not be below ground in a mine of coal, stratified ironstone, shale or fireclay for the purpose of his work, and of going to and from his work, for more than eight hours during any consecutive twenty-four hours.

(3) The manager of the mine shall fix for each shift of workmen in the mine the time at which the lowering of the men to the mine is to commence and to be completed, and the time at which the raising of the men from the mine is to commence and to be completed, in such a manner that every workman shall have the opportunity of returning to the surface without contravention of this section, and shall post and keep posted at the pit head a conspicuous notice of the time so fixed, and shall make all arrangements necessary for the observance of those times.

(4) The interval between the times fixed for the commencement and for the completion of the lowering and raising of each shift of workmen to and from the mine shall be such time as may for the time being be approved by an inspector as the time reasonably required for the purpose.

(5) In the event of any accident to the winding machinery, or other accident interfering with the lowering or raising of workmen, the interval may temporarily be extended to such extent as may be necessary; but in any such case the manager of the mine shall on the same day send notice of the extension and the cause thereof to an inspector, and the extension shall not continue beyond such date as may be allowed by the inspector.

(6) In the event of the manager feeling aggrieved by a decision of an inspector under subsection (4) the matter shall, in accordance with regulations as to procedure and costs made by the Minister, be referred to the decision of a person appointed by the judge of the Circuit Court for the circuit in which the mine is situate, whose decision shall be final; but until such decision is given the times approved by the inspector shall be in force as respects the mine.

(7) A repairing shift of workmen may, notwithstanding the provisions of this section, for the purpose of avoiding work on Sunday, commence their period of work on Saturday before twenty-four hours have elapsed since the commencement of their last period of work, so long as at least eight hours have elapsed since the termination thereof.

(8) (a) In the case of a deputy, onsetter or pump-minder, the maximum period for which he may be below ground under this Part shall be nine hours and a half.

(b) Where the work of sinking a pit or driving a cross-measure drift is being carried on continuously, no contravention of the provisions of this Part shall be deemed to take place as respects any workman engaged on that work if the number of hours spent by him at his working place does not exceed six at any one time, and the interval between the time of leaving the working place and returning thereto is in no case less than twelve hours.

(9) If any question under this section arises (otherwise than in legal proceedings) whether any person is a workman or is a workman of any particular class, that question shall be referred to the Minister, and his decision shall be final.

(10) The Minister may by regulations substitute a shorter period of time for the period provided by subsection (2) or by paragraph (a) of subsection (8) and, during the continuance of the regulations, this section shall stand modified accordingly.

(11) Regulations may provide that this section shall, with such exceptions, modifications and adaptations as may be prescribed, apply to any other class of mine.

(12) There shall not be a contravention of any provision of this section providing for a period of time in relation to a workman employed on a shift if the period from the time when the last workman on that shift leaves the surface to the time when the first workman on that shift returns to the surface does not exceed the period of time so provided.