From the equipment used in mining operations to the environment itself, mining operations around the world are fraught with some of the most dangerous hazards in any workplace you can find. The core operations of just about any mining facility are loaded with nearly unavoidable dangers, its just part of the job, but being able to identify and avoid any potential hazards is something that every mining facility needs to make a priority.
These dangers cannot simply be ignored, or they will have a dismantling affect on your operations, your personnel, and their morale. But with the right attention to safety in your operations, they can be easy to mitigate.
Being one of the most dangerous professions in the world, underground mines in particular hold some of the worst dangers, many lurking just one bad decision away from disaster.
Fortunately, we at Exis Engineering provide specialised products and equipment that can help you manage and reduce these risks.
So, to help your facility preserve the lives, livelihoods, and safety of its personnel and operations, here are some of the most prevalent dangers you may face, and how to avoid them.
In any underground mining situation, there is a considerable amount of care that needs to be taken with regards to explosives and combustible gasses that are ever present during the operations.
Explosives are widely used in almost all mining operations as an effective and affordable way to break through even the hardest minerals, and should always be stored correctly, securely and carefully, and only ever operated by qualified and experienced technicians. In addition to this, safety regulations should always be observed when handling or using explosives, not just for the operator, but everyone in the surrounding areas.
This comes down to correct handling, but also clear communication that keeps people away from the danger.
Combustible gasses are also an issue, mostly due to the confined spaces, which means that even the smallest spark or flame can result in major explosions and fires.
Because of this, specialised flame proof equipment and machinery is an absolute must, while measures must be put in place to consistently test the quality of the air underground.
Human error is one of the most common causes of accidents in any environment, but in underground mining, the results can be all the more devastating. Human error can never be truly avoided, it is going to happen even with the most stringent policies in place.
However, they can be mitigated extensively by making the right choices. Are all your workers and operators sound of mind and properly rested? They should be at all times.
Clear communication between operators must also be facilitated, and each worker must adhere strictly to your mining safety policies.
The use of vehicles and machinery in mining operations is necessary, but also pose a risk. Especially in poorly lit or noisy environments where hazards can be difficult to point out and avoid.
Make sure that all your workers are aware of nearby machinery that may pose a risk to their safety, and that all areas are adequately lit (with flameproof lighting) to ensure that everything is visible.
You also want to make sure that your vehicles and equipment are in good condition and can provide for the safety of your operators and any surrounding areas.
In mining situations where heavy materials are often being handled and transported, a failed piece of equipment can be the difference between a successful payload and a mining tragedy.
Electricity is an instant and invisible killer. In most operating environments this isn’t a problem since live cables and electricity are generally out of reach and pose no danger. The already limited and hazardous nature of mining operations, however, doesn’t always make electrical safety easy.
In fact, next to falls, electricity is responsible for some of the highest numbers of mining deaths in the world. It is absolutely essential, therefore, to ensure that each worker in the mine is well aware of the presence of live cables, and has undergone proper and intensive mine safety training.