Mining is widely recognized as being one of the more dangerous occupations in the world. Every year, people within this industry suffer from injuries and death due to unsafe working conditions and exposure to hazardous chemicals. Though the risks of mining can never be fully eliminated, there are many things that you can do to protect your employees in their day-to-day work.
If you own a company in the mining industry, then you may be asked by your hiring client to become certified — most likely with BROWZ® or Avetta®. Certification is most common in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, but we can help you with the certification process no matter where you’re from in the world. Keep reading to learn about the dangers of mining work, and the safety programs you may need for your certification process.
Risks of Mining Work
Every day, miners face a wide variety of risks when they show up for work. These risks include:
- Falls: Mining often occurs underground in a poorly lit environment. Miners can be injured by slips, trips, and falls due to poor visibility, and due to accidents while entering or exiting the mines.
- Cave-ins: This is one of the most common underground mining incidents, and trapped workers can be severely injured or killed.
- Floods: Flooding can occur due to runoff from heavy rainfall. Floods can also cause lingering damage — the water can destabilize pit walls in underground mines and eventually result in cave-ins.
- Explosions: The build-up of methane gas can eventually result in explosions. Even companies who invest in good ventilation systems are at risk.
- Equipment accidents: Without proper maintenance and thorough operator training, the heavy equipment and tools used for mining can be very dangerous.
- Inhalation of dust and dangerous chemicals: Many hazardous chemicals are used in the mining process. Without the proper use of PPE, chemical and dust inhalation can cause respiratory problems.
- Exposure to radon: Radon is an odorless radioactive gas, commonly found in mines. Prolonged exposure can result in chronic health conditions and lung cancer.
- Electrocution: Many of the tools used in mining run on electrical power. Mining often occurs in damp environments, which heightens the risk of electrocution.
- Hearing loss: Mining relies on a vast array of loud machinery, and prolonged exposure can eventually result in damage to miners’ eardrums.
Safety Programs for Miners
There are many safety programs that you can adapt to your company to protect your mining workers. At Industrial Compliance & Safety, we will look at the specifications of your hiring client and the regulations of OSHA to write a series of custom safety programs for your mining company. Here are some of the most common safety programs required for mining work:
- Radon Detection and Awareness
- Methane Gas Detection and Awareness
- Chemical Handling and Storage
- Electrical Safety
- Fall Protection and Prevention
- Cave-in Prevention
- Working in Enclosed Spaces
Do I Need New Mining Safety Programs?
Having written safety programs is a great way to prevent incidents and injuries in the mines. By having a standardized series of safety programs, you can ensure that all employees have undergone the same training and are working with the same base of knowledge regarding mining safety.
If you have already been certified, then you should have a catalog of all required safety programs for your company. You will be notified if you are required to update or add safety programs to your account. Additionally, you may consider updating your safety programs after an incident or near-miss, to prevent future incidents.