Safety in Mining: Why it's important and how to get it right

Mining is one of the globe’s most significant industries as it supplies and extracts valuable mineral resources. That being said, it’s also one of the most dangerous ones.

Some prevalent mining hazards are explosions, toxic air, cave-ins, and extreme temperature. The unpredictability and hands-on nature of the profession indicates accidents are bound to occur, as well as the increased risks of fatality.

Therefore, safety in mining must always be the cornerstone of every project. So, how can you ensure safety in mining? Read to know more.

What is Mining in Safety?

According to International Labour Organization, while mining accounts for 1% of the global labour force, it causes 8% of fatal accidents.

Safety is a vital component of any healthy workplace. But in mining, its essential to prevent long-term disease or injury and loss of life.

The good news is that fatalities in the mining industry have recently reduced. This is thanks to the preventative measures and new technologies that promote efficiency with safety. As Mining Industry Professionals, focusing on the best practice Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) measures will ensure your team’s well-being and meet your duty of care.

What are the Possible Dangers of The Mining Industry?

Mining is more dangerous than any other regular industrial job. The risk involved is never-ending, with projects involving blasting, drilling, and other potentially menacing tasks. To name a few dangers of the mining industry:

Mine Cave-Ins

The nightmare of being buried alive is absolutely real in mining. Cave-ins or mini collapses are the most widely reported accidents prone to this industry. It could occur due to indirect or direct reasons. For instance, earth tremors and earthquakes can damage the support pillars causing them to fall. Blasting or retreat mining can also be the causes.

Radioactive Materials

Radon is a known radioactive gas produced after the natural breakdown of uranium in rock and soil. It is found everywhere but is usually diluted when we breathe. However, that's not the case in mining confined spaces with poor ventilation. Here, workers are at significant risk of hazardous radon exposure, which is also a major cause of lung cancer.

 

Explosions

Thankfully, explosions are rare nowadays, but when they do, it leads to damage on a large scale and causes the highest casualties. Mines often house dangerous gases, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and the most threatening, methane. Due to being confined, these gases cannot escape and build up within mine, often leading to explosions.

How to Ensure Safety in Mining? 5 Practical Tips

1. Assess Risk

Assessing the risks is perhaps the most critical step in preventing mishaps. Putting together a plan that defines project objectives and goals and documents safety procedures is the right starting point.

Insights from this plan will let workers improve their operations to minimise the hazards associated with the mining field. Also, they will know what measures to take if a situation arises and whom to contact.  Check out JESI’s Risk Assessment Feature that automates this entire process

2. Promote a Culture of Safety

In mining, the truth is a single thoughtless mistake can lead to widespread catastrophe. Therefore, strong safety culture is requisite to ensure productive working and well-being. You can achieve it by making vigilance an essential part of your work culture.

From following proper risk assessments and reporting all misses to take note of all possible hazards, safety should always be at the forefront. Also, develop disciplinary actions in case of unsafe behaviour.

3. Wear Safety or Personal Protective Equipment

Safety or personal protective equipment (PPE) is necessary while working in mining fields. It minimises your exposure to various accidents prone to hazardous mining zones. A typical mining PPE kit will include gloves, eyes and ear protection, hard hats, steel-toed footwear, and full bodysuits. Also, always make sure to replace the defective PPE kit immediately.

4. Frequent Mining Training

Companies should develop a schedule for safety training that involves not only new team members but also long-working employees. The sessions must be frequent, substituting practical and theoretical components. It will ensure that everyone from supervisors to crew, leaders, and engineers are all thinking about possible safety hazards in all situations.

5. Regular Health Check-Ups

If people working on site are unhealthy, it is a safety hazard. To ensure proper productivity and safety while working, one should be physically and mentally healthy. Since mines are zones with a considerable risk of exposure to harmful gases, the companies must maintain regular health checkups. It will ensure that employees are safe from lung and hearing damage as well as stress and fatigue.

The Take-Away

The reality is mining is and will always be a volatile and dangerous job and probably an important one too. Thanks to technology, it is becoming more automated and with reduced risks.

Change your safety procedures from reactive to proactive by taking precautionary measures.

Companies can mitigate risks by analysing the occupational hazards, developing practices and measures, and ensuring regular training and health checkups. From custom safety training to digitised risk assessment and automated data reporting tools, JESI helps build a safety culture while ensuring workplace efficiency.

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