Mines can often present much more dangerous hazards than your regular industrial facility. The following is a list of just some of the danger’s miners can face. This list is by no means complete, but rather compiled to highlight the most common hazards found in a mine.
→ Explosions: The threat of a potential explosion usually occurs in underground mines and poses a serious threat to safety. Because flammable chemicals and gases are often running through pipes in an underground mine, it will be important that the ventilation systems are periodically checked, and warning signs are posted to remind workers of safe practices.
→ Cave-ins, collapses, or rock falls: The infrastructure of mines can sometimes result in catastrophe. The roof of a mine can collapse and cause rocks and debris to become unstable and possibly strike workers. Sometimes collapses are scheduled and systematically planned and control the hazard of a cave in. Appropriate safety plans will need to be practiced and workers should be trained on what to do in case of a cave in or a collapse in the mine.
→ Fires: There are a number of items and areas in a mine that can cause a fire and traditional fire suppression systems may not always be suitable for certain mining environments. Because of this, it will be especially important to focus on fire hazards and fire safety in the overall mining health and safety program.
→ Electrical hazards: Most mines have different pieces of electrical equipment used on a regular basis. Although necessary, these machines can pose a risk of fire, shock, or arc flash. And the cords connected to equipment also pose a trip and fall hazard to workers. Policies should be put in place and electrical safety training should be offered to miners. Specific training may need to take place for especially dangerous machines.
→ Dust exposure: Miners, especially coal miners, care at risk for breathing in dust and debris while working and consequences can be serious. Safety managers and employers will need to assess their workplace and provide proper respiratory protection.
→ Vehicle hazards: Industrial vehicles like cement trucks, cranes, or tractors can often be found at mining sites. These vehicles do not usually offer the best visibility for operators and can put all the workers in the area at risk. Ensure workers can be easily spotted with hi-vis safety vests and take the time to draw out a traffic plan for the area.
→ Noise: The loud equipment used in the confined spaces of a mine can cause permanent hearing loss. Machines like roof bolters, bulldozers, continuous mining machines, front end loaders, and others are responsible for excessive noise. The correct hearing protection will need to be supplied to keep workers from experiencing irreversible damage.