IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining (Draft 2.0)
Chapter 2.3 Emergency Preparedness and Response


Modern mines are large industrial facilities and have operational risks. These risks are common to industries that make, handle, transport and use fuels and chemical substances and include the potential for explosions, fires, releases of gas, ventilation failures, rock falls, avalanches, water or slurry inundation, radiation exposures, seismic events and environmental incidents.

Mining companies have direct responsibility for both minimizing risks (through prevention, mitigation, and preparedness) and developing effective and thoughtful emergency response plans for emergencies or major accidents. Mining companies must also work with joint venture partners, contractors and suppliers providing bulk and dangerous materials to put adequate emergency response plans in place to deal with both on-site and off-site accidents. It is also very important to coordinate and communicate with communities that could be affected by these accidents, both to protect health and safety in these communities, and so that the emergency resources in the communities are available if needed.

Objectives/Intent of this Chapter

To plan for and be prepared to respond effectively to potential emergency situations, prevent or reduce the likelihood of accidents and minimize loss of life, injuries and damage to property, environment, health and social well-being.

Scope of Application

Chapter Relevance:  This chapter applies to the operating company and to its on-site contractors and subcontractors involved with dangerous and bulk materials at all mines applying for IRMA certification.


  • Removed general references to ILO such as “The operating company shall conform with the requirements of Part III of ILO Convention 176 on the Safety and Health in Mines, 1998”, and created IRMA-specific requirements that lay out the information that was in the ILO materials. Where we drew on ILO Conventions we will reference it in Guidance for this chapter, so that companies and stakeholders will be able to see which requirements align with ILO.  Similarly, removed references to OHSAS.
  • The means of verification (MOV) have been removed from this version of the draft IRMA Standard. If you would prefer to review and comment on a version of the draft Standard that has the means of verification, you can download a pdf version of the Standard with MOV.

Emergency Preparedness and Response Requirements

2.3.1.  Emergency Response Plan  All operations related to the mining project shall have an Emergency Response Plan conforming to the guidelines set forth in United Nations Environment Programme, Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies at the Local Level (APELL) for Mining.[1]  The operating company shall:[2]

a.   Conduct an exercise to test the plan, with key participants describing how they would respond to a variety of different emergency scenarios, at least every 12 – 24 months; and

b.   Update the communications contacts of the Emergency Response Plan at least annually. 

2.3.2.  Community and Worker Consultation  The Emergency Response Plan shall be developed in consultation with potentially affected communities and workers and/or workers’ representatives, [3] and the operating company shall incorporate their input into the Emergency Response Plan, and include their participation in emergency response planning exercises.

2.3.3.  Public Liability Accident Insurance  All operations related to the mining project shall be covered by a public liability accident insurance policy that provides financial insurance for unplanned accidental events.  The public liability accident insurance shall cover unplanned accidental events such as flood damage, landslides, subsidence, tailings dam failures, major spills of process solutions, leaking tanks, etc.  The accident insurance coverage shall remain in force for as long as the operating company, or its successors, has legal responsibility for the property.


The requirements in this chapter largely follow the guidance from the United Nations Environment Programme, Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies at the Local Level (APELL) for Mining Technical Report No. 41 (2001).  Additional guidance is also taken from: Part III of International Labour Organization Convention 176 on the Safety and Health in Mines, 1995; Part III and Part V of International Labour Organization Convention 174 on Prevention of Major Industrial Accidents, 1993; and, the Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS) 18001/2.

The IRMA Standard does not require a separate emergency response plan from those already prepared for mining projects, contractors, suppliers, and transportation companies, provided it can be demonstrated that the plan is in compliance with the standard.

There may be several different components of an emergency response plan maintained by different functional areas of the operating company, such as safety, environmental and social responsibility, security, and communications/external affairs. Emergency response plans that cover different operations and/or on/parts of a mine site should be combined into or integrated with a site-wide emergency response plan. At minimum, a single reference document shall exist that identifies the location(s), responsible person(s) and contact information for each of the separate emergency response plans or supplements to those plans. A crisis management/communications, rapid response, or other incident command system should be developed in conjunction with the emergency response plans.

Cross Reference to Other Chapters



1.1—Legal Compliance As per Chapter 1.1, mine contractors and subcontractors must be IRMA compliant. So the operating company should be able to demonstrate that either contractors and subcontractors are aware of the company’s emergency response plan, and/or have their own plan in place.
2.2—Occupational Health and Safety Chapter 2.2 provides additional requirements related to worker safety, which may be partially addressed in the Emergency Response Plan. Conversely, emergency-related procedures may also be included in occupational health and safety procedures or plans.
2.7—Community Health and Safety Information from the community health and safety risk and impact assessment may feed into the Emergency Response Plan.
2.8—Community and Stakeholder Engagement Engagement with stakeholders during the development and updating of the Emergency Response Plan shall conform with the stakeholder engagement requirements in Chapter 2.8. 
4.1—Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Information from the environment and social impact assessment may feed into the Emergency Response Plan.



1. United Nations Environment Programme. 2001. Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies at the Local Level (APELL) for Mining, (Technical Report 41). See Appendix 1 for Components of an emergency response plan.

2. This is in accordance with the APELL for Mining, Section 4, Step 3. See also ICMM. Good practice in emergency preparedness and response. p. 15.

3. This is based on ILO Conventions 174 and 176, OHSAS 18001. See IRMA Guidance for more details.