There’s no doubt that mining today is a much safer job than it was 50 years ago. The mining industry however, still has one of the highest injury and fatality rates when compared to other industries. Extra safety efforts are often made to ensure miners are kept safe while on the job. One of these highly effective (and cost friendly) efforts is visual communication.
Using visual safety tools like signs and labels will not only increase safety awareness but will keep the mine operating smoothly and hopefully accident free. Different signs and labels will be used depending on the type of mine but there are a number of common safety signs that can be found in nearly any workplace.
→ Fire safety signs: Fires can be a common hazard in mines. Red and white fire signs should be posted at locations of fire extinguishers, hoses, sprinklers, and exits to ensure safety and proper evacuation.
→ Equipment labels: The electrical equipment often found in mines can pose a huge risk. Any major electrical installations should have ‘DANGER’ labels on them to alert workers of the hazard. These labels should explain the present hazard as well as appropriate measures to avoid the hazard.
→ Lockout/tagout labels: Having a LOTO program is essential for any workplace that handles machines. Use lockout/tagout labels to clearly indicate whether or not the machine has been shut off before servicing.
→ Traffic signs: There are all types of industrial vehicles roaming around a mining site. Having a traffic plan that includes visual communication is critical to keeping operators and pedestrians safe and alert. Traffic signs at a mine can look a lot like the signs found on any road: a stop sign, a speed limit sign, a one way sign, or a yield sign.
→ Other safety signs: The above list is not a complete list of safety signs and labels needed in a mine but is a good place to start. Other signs to consider having in the mine include PPE signs, signs indicating confined spaces, and chemical labels.