Similar risks to health and safety are faced by workers across the globe when they are involved with underground mining operations. The safety hazards are the same whether the mining operations involve extracting coal and diamonds, base metals, non-metallic minerals, or precious metals. However, more serious health and safety risks are with the deeper mines.
Numerous surveys conducted by labour groups around the world have discovered that equipment and heavy machinery are the major causes of mine accidents. The major contributors to mine accidents include the lack of:
- Hazard communication
- Tagout/lockout precautions
- Electrical wiring
- Safety training
- Machine guarding
Fortunately, the safety risks have been significantly reduced by enhanced mine engineering, modern equipment, automated mining techniques, and a host of other new mining safety equipment.
However, the technological advances in mining safety equipment can only do so much. The work environment is only ensured when the checklist of reminders for worker safety goes hand-in-hand with the latest mining safety equipment.
Alarm and ventilation systems
Potentially toxic gases, fumes, and vapours such as CO or Carbon Monoxide can be detected when alarm and ventilation systems are working in tiptop conditions. Regular testing and maintenance are the best way to ensure its optimum condition.
PPE or Personal Protective Equipment
PPE training is a must for new miners. However, it pays for a mining company to keep updated with PPEs. PPE manufacturers have made significant improvements with the materials and changing to the newer versions is always the best option.
Shaft heading during scaling, drilling, and mucking requires the minimum 5-foot candles intensity illumination with 10-foot candles as maximum. Regular maintenance and checking of the lamps is the smartest way to provide the proper illumination at all times.
Establishing communication at all times is important in all mining operations. It means that fully operational signalling devices and telephones should be maintained at all times. It can spell the difference between life and death in the workplace.
Regular Equipment checks
Regular checks and maintenance of all mining equipment should be a routine part of the mining operations. Vehicles and mining equipment can only perform reliably when they are regularly checked and maintained. Potential dangers and risks are to mining workers and operators are avoided when all pieces of equipment run smoothly.
Check-in, check-out, and worker identification systems
The worker check-in/check-out identification needs to be double-checked on every shift. Information about the exact location of every worker becomes possible when check-in, check-out worker identification systems are functioning as they should.
Proper belts and harnesses
Underground mines typically do not face fall accidents. However, raised or mountainous mines need fall protection equipment to protect workers. The use of scaffolds and ladders during mining operations in mountainous areas needs the right belts and harnesses to prevent falling accidents.
Evacuation and emergency gear
An emergency and evacuation drill has to be part of the mining safety measures. Breathing apparatus and HAZMAT suits have to be available at the worksite at all times.
A mining business that ensures best safety practices at all times is a successful organisation. While workers’ safety is always of paramount importance in all types of workplaces, it is even more so in high-risk industries such as mining. Learn more about other important mining safety equipment and practices by contacting us at IQS Solutions – mining products.