With the help of safety protocols, there have been fewer deaths with each passing year in the mining industry. But this isn’t to say that mining is risk-free; it can be a dangerous job that involves numerous hazards. This article will outline some key hazards and ways to increase safety in mines, so the hard workers can come home safe.
1. Ensure everyone wears the appropriate equipment
As with any industry, there are certain PPE protocols to follow, and the mining industry is no different. Personal safety is a priority amongst miners, and they should be wearing the equipment that can help prevent any accidents waiting to happen.
Your brain is the most important organ in your body, and you need to keep it from harm. Mines are cluttered with debris and falling objects, which can cause fractures to the skull and neck. This can lead to brain damage, paralysis and even death. A hard hat is designed to take the weight of any falling debris, cushion it and distribute the shock evenly, reducing injury.
Respirators and masks
Dust and particles are abundant in mines, and can cause major issues in the human respiratory system. While dust isn’t a direct threat, it can be a cause for any respiratory illnesses such as lung cancer. Respirators and masks can help prevent this.
Feet and hand protection
Wearing gloves and boots can prevent any loss of fingers or toes. Many foreign objects can cause damage to miner’s hands and feet if they aren’t wearing the correct protection.
High visibility/reflective clothing
Visibility is paramount in any type of minesite, and with the help of light, high visibility clothing can make it easier to locate workers. Knowing where workers are at all times will help reduce the risk of an accident.
Loud machinery and explosives can cause extensive damage to human eardrums, which can lead to permanent hearing damage. Earmuffs and plugs can greatly reduce the noise, lowing the risk.
Debris and dust can find their way into the eye, and safety glasses can prevent any accidents related to the eyes.
Even with all the correct safety procedures in place, there is potential for an accident. If someone is trapped under rubble they may not have adequate oxygen or may breathe poisonous gasses. A self-rescuer is a belt mountable device that can supply oxygen to the miner if they are trapped and in need of oxygen while they wait for rescue.
2. Communication is key
Almost nothing can be done without communication, and the same goes for safety. All workers should be able to access communication when they desire, with the least delay possible. This allows for everyone to be located easily, for jobs or in the event of an accident. Keep workers safe and communicate with one another, so they can receive and provide the relevant information.
There are a variety of advanced mining communication solutions out there. They can cater to every mine’s specific needs, offering custom-designed communication systems for miners, and is innovative and easy to use.
3. Autonomous devices
Take the risk away from humans by using autonomously operated machinery. Wireless technology can allow miners to wirelessly operate devices and explosives and, with the use of smarter AI systems, reduce the risk of human error. Keep your miners out of harm’s way, and in places that are more essential for them.
4. It’s all about the data
Don’t underestimate the power of data. By ensuring you’re monitoring and retaining the correct information, you’ll gather excellent insight into the areas you need to invest more into when it comes to minesite safety.
5. Vehicular collisions
Everyone knows mine sites can be difficult places to manoeuvre and operate correctly. Narrow walkways, roads and blind corners can be a major cause for concern. It’s essential to have traffic control systems in place to prevent any accidents that may occur. Equip your moving plants with alarm systems so any unsuspecting people may move to a safer location away from the plant.
6. Proper maintenance
Keep your mining equipnent properly serviced and maintained and keep your mining personnel safe – it’s that simple. Not only will proper maintenance keep workers safe, but it also increases overall efficiency and performance.
7. Cultivate a culture of safety
When you show your workers that safety is paramount, they will be more likely to ensure safer practices. Ensure a collaborative and clearly communicated safety culture that empowers employees and allows them to do their jobs safely.
Investing the money and time is worth it when it comes to cultivating a culture of safety, as it allows for better and more comprehensive training, and makes it clear where areas can improve. Ultimately, it will safe time and money in the long run.