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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

5 most frequent types of accidents in the mining industry and how employers can prevent them

mining industry safety precautions
Following OSHA guidelines is good practice in mining
By David Incorvaia

In the United States, the processes of coal mining and hard rock mining are two of the most dangerous jobs within the workforce market. If you’re not afraid to blow stuff up, possibly dig yourself into a collapsing hole, or breathe toxic gases – I think you have found your calling.

Most individuals look at these blue-collar jobs as hard-work, but never imagine themselves in the shoes of people who actually live the life. I have the utmost respect for the men and women that mine for coal every day because of the safety hazards involved with every day work experiences. The following are five of the most frequent types of workplace accidents in the mining industry. Furthermore, what is a problem without a solution? Like every problem in the universe, there is a preventive measure that can save time and money in the future if implemented properly.

The top five – Explosions, gases, concaving holes, and much more

Underground mining, especially throughout the Eastern world, is the most dangerous profession in the world. Surface mining is a little less hazardous, but still poses threats that include gas exposure and blast debris. Thousands of miners die from mining accidents each year, particularly in China where the coal mines are the world’s deadliest – more than 10 miners die every day in China coal mines.

Methane gas exposure Methane and coal dust have caused more deaths collectively than any other workplace incident on the planet – that’s really saying something. For those of you who do not know what methane gas is, I have a quick and simple definition for you: Methane is a super-charged, highly explosive gas that causes humans to suffocate in an enclosed area.

Sounds great, right?

Generally speaking, methane gas is not toxic to human beings, but when trapped in enclosed areas at high levels, people cannot breathe properly and suffocate. Given that compressed rock formations and coal layers contain extensive pressurized methane content, blowing up the rock to extract usable coal can be extremely dangerous. Proper procedures from management and OSHA regulations must be followed if accidents and major meltdowns want to be avoided. Masks and proper breathing devices should always be present and available to workers (within reaching distance if not worn) in the case of an emergency.

There she blows Improper explosions of dynamite and other explosive materials cause lethal coal dust that penetrates the lungs of workers. Long-term respiratory problems occur from exposure to these types of explosions.

Think of a nuclear power plant exploding and the exposure to radiation from the nuclear core – coal dust explosions are comparable to that experience. As a safety manager, you want to make sure there is focus and alertness within your working unit, as most premature blasts occur through carelessness. Other premature blasts occur from faulty fuses or degenerative explosives. Ensure that your explosive material is up to code and looks safe prior to entering the mining area.

Collapsed cave I’m sure you’ve heard on T.V. or seen in a movie miners stuck in a cave with no way out. Although you feel for them, you’re not there – you’re able to change the channel because it’s just a movie.

But this stuff actually happens in real-life. Seismic reactions occur all the time and when you dig deeper and deeper and start blowing stuff up, you’re more likely to cause seismic reactions on the surface. When this happens, instability occurs around the mining area and concaving consequences occur, killing workers or trapping them underground to suffocate.
As a safety manager, using the effective minimum workforce for a given task is the best way to ensure safety for the majority. Follow protocols and make sure that workers are away from the mine when they are not needed.

Don’t get too close Over the past 20 years, most injuries and fatalities have occurred from flying objects and rocks due to close exposure explosions. When workers stand too close to explosion blast radiuses, something bad is bound to occur.

Many workers don’t believe that a small blast could produce such high flying rock debris, especially debris that has a velocity to kill upon impact.

The best safety precautions are protective gear including hard hat, fire-proof jumpsuits, and eye wear are essential to worker on-site safety. In addition, ensuring all workers are way outside the blast zone will help lower possible flying debris impacts.

Machinery malfunctions Accidents related to the motion of machinery, including electric and air-powered tools, as well as haulage equipment, are prominent in the coal mining business. Due to the uneven surfaces and rugged terrain of the worksite, many workers trip and fall or misuse equipment.

Tipping or losing control of cranes, hauling equipment, and other payload moving devices cause safety risks for the driver, as well as other workers on-site.

If you want to minimize machinery malfunctions, ensure that all users are certified and authorized, only use the equipment when needed, and follow all cautionary measures via the OSHA handbook before, during, and after usage.

About the author: David Incorvaia is a Rollins College Senior. He majored in Music performance/business administration and currently performs around the southeast at various venues. Other then performing David enjoys trading options, reading, and cooking. He recently started work as a content writer for www.eCompliance.com

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