Let’s not mince words: underground mining can be very dangerous. Remember the Gleision Colliery disaster and the Soma Mine Explosion? These accidents remind us that we should all work harder at keeping our miners safe.
We can at least thank some factors for reducing mining deaths and injuries in recent years. The MSHA credits advances in technology, mine safety laws, and training for this.
That’s not to say a few mining accidents are acceptable. Rather, it’s a work in progress.
Everyone in the mining industry should keep miner safety a priority. This covers everything from equipment used to accident programs and laws enforced. That said, here are some tips to keep in mind when working with underground mining equipment.
Ensure Proper Illumination
Paths, walkways, etc. should be sufficiently illuminated. Make sure lamp sockets are weatherproof.
You should also immediately replace faulty taillights and headlights on mobile equipment. Otherwise, the mine operator should keep a record of future inspections.
Wear Protective Gear
Miners should wear face shields or goggles when doing any type of work that could hurt their eyes. This includes digging with a pick, riding in railcars, and breaking material with a hammer.
For handling electric equipment or testing power circuits, miners should always wear gloves. Other protective gears include hard hats, reflectorized clothing, and high-visibility coveralls.
Check Machinery and Equipment
Equipment defects can compromise the safety of miners. These include worn tires and faulty hydraulic controls, to mention a few. To avoid incurring violations, operators must immediately remove and replace unsafe equipment.
Every mining company must perform routine checks and maintenance programs. This will ensure all vehicles and equipment are safe to operate.
Maintain Efficient Ventilation
Diesel fumes, aerosols, and particulates are contaminants that are harmful to underground workers. Air quality sensors and alarms can help detect hazardous substances in the atmosphere.
You should also note that some gases have the potential to explode. A well-maintained ventilation can reduce this risk.
Make Sure Signaling Devices Are Working
Hazard signs should always be visible. Telephones and other communication devices should work at all times. These devices can be critical for an injured worker to get emergency medical help on time.
Prepare for Emergencies
Do office workers take part in disaster evacuation drills? What about other simulated emergency procedures? All the more should high-risk workers know emergency plans by heart.
Miners should know how to evacuate in case of an earthquake or another disaster. There should be emergency gear ready. This includes HAZMAT suits and rescue breathing apparatus.
Last Words on Underground Mining Safety
Underground mining safety is not just a miner’s problem. Safe underground working conditions are the responsibility of everyone in the mining industry.
Safety awareness is just one component of this. To effectively reduce mining accidents, consistency in following safety policies is key.
Contact us today if you need mining-safe products and services. We look forward to helping you in every way possible. Feel free to also browse our blog for the latest news in mining, oil, steel, rail, and energy industry.