Mining can be a dangerous industry to work in, which is why it is crucial for everyone who is on site to be aware of any hazards. Workers should also use the correct equipment and wear protective clothing to keep safe. In this week’s blog we’re exploring the measures that are put in place to keep everyone working or visiting a mine site safe.
- Geotechnical Hazards
The environment and location where mining takes place can be unstable and unpredictable. It is a considerate hazard to those working on site, but the implementation of advanced monitoring systems and investment in new technologies means the structural integrity can be checked before risking human life, preventing workers being caught in rockfalls, caves-ins and landslides.
- Respiratory Health Risks
The nature of the job causes dust, silica, and toxic gases to be released into the environment. Workers who are exposed to these dangers are more likely to develop a variety of respiratory disease, including black lung disease, lung cancer and silicosis. This is why high-quality PPE is crucial for worker safety, to improve the quality of air being breathed, as well as routine health monitoring to check the well-being of workers.
- Underground Fires and Explosions
Heavy machinery is used on a mine site, and it is crucial that those operating this equipment are trained, to minimise accidents. The use of this equipment, explosives and various flammable substances creates a risk of underground fires and explosives. All flammable material must be handled in the proper manner. Ensuring workers understand how to use the materials and equipment, will minimise risk and increase safety.
- Physical and Mental Health Challenges
Miners typically work in dark, isolated environments, in remote locations for long periods of time. Limited contact with family and friends can lead to many workers experiencing an impact to their mental and physical well-being. Companies promoting a healthy work/lifestyle balance and providing regular breaks, counselling and support to workers can help ensure the overall well being of workers is maintained.
- Mining Sustainably
Mining companies carry a duty of care to the environment and those impacted by the practises they undertake. There are many environmental factors to consider, firstly soil contamination, water contamination, deforestation as well as the limited resources that are extracted. Companies must consider ethical and sustainable practises and responsibly dispose of waste, as well as considering sustainable practises they can adopt to reduce carbon emissions.
So, we’ve discussed five different types of hazards that can impact the health and safety of those who work on a mine site. We have also explained the measures that should be put in place to protect everyone. Here are several tips to a safe working environment:
- Make sure you are always wearing the correct personal protective safety equipment, including high vis, full body suits, masks, respirators, gloves, helmets, safety boots and safety glasses.
- Keep everyone on site up to date with their training, ensure only people who are trained are operating specific types of machinery and equipment. It is also crucial regular checks of machinery and equipment take place.
- Keep underground operations well lit, to avoid accidents and injury, ensure workers have personal lighting that is suitable in all weather conditions. As well as checking all headlights on machinery are working too. Signage should be made clear to alert workers of any hazards, as well as keeping traffic moving safely around site.
- Should any accidents unfortunately happen, make sure the correct protocol is undertaken, report all details clearly. This can alert other workers and prevent the same accident from re-occurring. Any faulty equipment that no longer complies with safety standards should immediately stop being used and quickly reported. Replace any equipment that falls short of safety requirements, even if delays occur.
Now we’ve highlighted the various risks on a mine site and how they can be minimised. While mining will continue to be considered a more dangerous industry to work in, if workers follow safety measures, wear the correct clothing, and are carefully trained to work with the chemicals, equipment, and machinery, this should limit the risk and keep the mine site safe.
We hope you enjoyed reading this week’s blog and learnt something new. If you’d like to let us know what you thought, please leave a comment in the section below. We appreciate any feedback and would also love to know what else you’d like to read about, so feel free to let us know what you’d like to learn about next. Why not share this with others who may also enjoy reading it too!