Mining is one of the biggest industries on the planet. However, as it often requires a hands-on approach, it also comes with its share of risks and hazards. Daily tasks of miners typically include deep drilling and blasting in order to break rocks for excavation, which utilize a variety of explosives. Taking into account reports that show that over 15,000 miners are killed every year and many more injured, it’s easy to see how dangerous this job can be for the people employed in the industry. With that in mind, knowing all the risks of the mining sector and working on implementing safety procedures that can save lives is vital. Here is what you should know.
Moving vehicles are a big risk
The number one safety hazard in quarries is moving vehicles. Poorly maintained roads and vehicles as well as a lack of restraint system contribute to this risk that accounts for about 40% of all accidents in the mining sector. However, by properly training employees and maintaining vehicles, most accidents can be avoided. It’s important to have good visibility for operators and secure the loads during transport. Moreover, the roads within the mines need to be wide enough, smooth, regularly cleaned, and wetted, in addition to having designated crossing points for pedestrians.
There are many causes of musculoskeletal injuries
Musculoskeletal injuries in the mining industry are also very common. There are various ways how one can get injured, from operating heavy quarry equipment to lifting and carrying heavy stones all the way to shoveling clay, earth, and shales. While implementing good posture and lifting techniques as well as relying on mechanical lifting assistance can reduce the risks of musculoskeletal injuries, research shows that changes to the workplace are imperative. Therefore, just as construction is benefiting from new technology, automating certain tasks in the mining industry will not only minimize the risk of injury but also improve productivity. As there will still be tasks that miners will have to handle without machinery, they need proper training and education that will ensure they are safe.
Respiratory protection is a must
Breaks and strains are not the only types of injury miners can sustain on the job. The mines are full of dust and debris which can have a detrimental effect on their lungs. To prevent atmospheric contamination, the area should be properly ventilated. Moreover, all employees need personal protective equipment (PPE), which can include everything from a face mask to a ventilator. CABA suits are often used to protect miners from various contaminants and provide them with safe breathing apparatus. Sterilizing and decontaminating them is of the essence, which is why looking for a quality CABA course that will ensure everyone working with this equipment knows how to use it is crucial. Lastly, every employer needs to educate their workforce by creating a respiratory protection training program that will familiarize the workers with the risks they’re facing and the safety measures that can help.
Miners are susceptible to heat stress
Heat stress is yet another hazard that miners are susceptible to. This should not come as a surprise seeing as how they exert themselves in an enclosed space that lacks airflow. Add to that heavy machinery and many other people and an environment that contributes to heat stress is easily created. With that in mind, employers need to recognize signs of this condition and take appropriate measures in order to prevent it. Furthermore, in case it happens, they need a procedure for how the person in question can get the necessary treatment ASAP. Heat stress can manifest itself as a heat rash, heat cramps, andeven a heat stroke. Employees, therefore, need sufficient breaks, enough water, and a space where they can cool off.
Hazard planning and communication should not be overlooked
There are many other health and safety risks in the mining industry, such as hearing impairment and deafness. For that reason, every employer has to research the potential hazards in the workplace and inform the workforce about them. What is more, implementing visual communication in the form of signs and labels that will caution everyone in the area is also vital. Finally, the company needs to adopt a safety culture where employees will look out for each other and be able to turn to the employer for any safety issues they might encounter.
Mining is a dangerous industry and everyone going into it needs to be aware of the fact. However, if the employers put various protective measures in place, the risks to the workers’ safety should be minimized.