It’s generally regarded that mining activity poses so many risks. Countless illegal miners are said to lose their lives every day. Alas! Those working for legally registered mines aren’t an exception though.
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Mineworkers have to navigate through unsafe surfaces and underground channels as part of their jobs. Unlike fabric building for mining operations, some mining structures lack adequate lighting to make navigation easier and much safer. This, among other mining site inadequacies, poses serious threats to human lives and the environment.
Fortunately, mining doesn’t have to be a constant threat to one’s life if the right health and safety procedures are taken. Once mining managers and entrepreneurs take on a holistic approach to preserve the health and safety of miners, countless lives can be saved from potential peril.
If you’re a mine manager or owner, here’s a list of tips to ensure safer mining operations:
1. Invest In Respiratory Protection
It’s important for mining companies to thoroughly evaluate the potential risks associated with their mine so they can avail the proper protective wear for employees.
Many miners, especially those in unregistered mines unlawfully doing business, are said to end up with respiratory diseases and damaged lungs due to prolonged exposure to dust and debris. In the long run, such negligence may even lead to loss of life.
Proper respiratory protection should be a prerequisite for mine workers. While some mineworkers can get away with wearing a simple mask, some mining situations call for advanced respiratory protection equipment pieces. Evaluating the instance will help decide what kind of protection will be enough.
2. Don’t Underestimate The Importance Of Hazard Communication
Hazards can be unforeseen. However, when there’s danger within the mine, everyone on-site needs to know it so they can evacuate or protect themselves one way or another. Mining companies should certainly put lots of emphasis on establishing hazard communication measures suitable for their size or budget.
Miners can make use of visual hazard communication. This may include signs and safety labels warning people of any potential danger. Also, underground wireless communication can be very effective in hazard communication.
Mining companies are advised to invest in a mobile leaky-feeder communications system. It involves hand-held radios that miners can use to communicate with each other underground. Effective communication can go a really long way in spreading awareness when an accident occurs.
3. Put Strict Explosive Safety Measures In Place
The biggest mistake people make is to over-familiarize themselves with dangerous processes. Mineworkers aren’t an exception. While miners may be already aware of how dangerous mining explosives are, they’ve probably used them so many times and think they’re experts on it and approach their handling carelessly. This is a dangerous mindset.
As a mining company owner, you’d be wise to enforce detailed and up-to-date safety policies concerning how explosives are handled. Communicate to personnel that breaching safety regulations is an offense. The goal isn’t to be harsh to your workers but to do what you can as a business to reduce workplace injuries and fatalities as much as possible.
4. Don’t Overlook Electrical Safety Too
Most mines have many electrical pieces that may need to be moved around on a regular basis, both inside and outside the mining facility’s premises. This may leave electrical cords just lying around the mine, which may lead to trips and falls. It may also cause electrocution hazards.
Although it seems far-fetched light, trips and falls in mines may cause head injuries and sometimes even death. Again, implementing strict safety policies comes into play in this case. It’s sometimes the things people take lightly that cause great harm. Having strict policies concerning how and when electrical devices and cords are used may save a life.
5. Mandate Workers To Wear Personal Protective Gear All The Time
Miners should always wear personal protective equipment (PPE) with no exceptions. Doing so is a must for they’re surrounded by many health hazards including cave-ins and collapses, trips and falls, as well as fires, to mention a few. PPE tools are there to minimize the impact of these dangers. For maximum effectiveness, PPE equipment should fit perfectly. Make it a point to replace defective clothing as soon as possible.
An effective mining PPE outfit and gear includes the following:
- Steel-toed footwear;
- Hard hats;
- Cap lamps;
- Earmuffs and other auditory protectors;
- Safety goggles;
- Flame-resistant cotton overalls; and
- Belts and harnesses.
Head-to-toe protection will go a long way in preventing and/or minimizing hazard impact in miners.
6. Improve Workplace Visibility
Visibility is very important in mines. Working in pitch-black tunnels can result in a lot of accidents. From on-site vehicle collisions to trips and falls, anything is almost possible. This can be avoided by simply ensuring underground illumination.
Lighting sources may include battery-operated cap lamps, stationary lamps, and fluorescent cap lamps. Enough lighting can make work easier and prevent accidents from happening.
Working underground comes with lots of possible dangers. Nonetheless, the right steps can minimize these hazards. Use this enlightening guide to turn your mine into a safe place for employees.