Journal logo

The risk associated with the mining sector.

by Lakhwinder Singh 2 months ago in economy
Report Story

However, mining does not have to be risky. The industry's fatality rate has decreased over time as a result of strict safety regulations and procedures and advancements in safety equipment.

The mining industry has a bad reputation for being risky, and there are a variety of health risks, some of which are quite serious, so it's important for miners to take precautions.

However, mining does not have to be risky. The industry's fatality rate has decreased over time as a result of strict safety regulations and procedures and advancements in safety equipment.

Despite the fact that zero harm has not yet been achieved, mining companies will continue to strive for it.

According to mining medicine researcher Megan Clark, "understanding and being aware of your environment is the first step to preventing illness or injury in the workplace is the following seven common health risks to watch out for in the mining industry."

1. Coal dust

One of the most common concerns among miners is coal dust inhalation.

“The condition that is more commonly referred to as "miner's lung" or "black lung" can result from continuous inhalation of coal dust. Pneumoconiosis is a group of occupational lung diseases that includes miner's lung. According to Clark, symptoms can range from shortness of breath to scarring of lung tissue, which can lead to ongoing respiratory issues.

Even though legal measures to prevent black lung have been in place for a long time, coal miners still contract new cases.

Every production shift, supervisors should check that dust control systems are operating properly and develop a plan for dust control for mining companies.

The dangers of prolonged exposure to coal mine dust ought to be taught to mine workers.

When dust control protection is being installed, maintained, or repaired, respiratory protection should be used. Additionally, medical surveillance and screening are essential.

2. Noise

Mines are extremely noisy places where heavy machinery and drilling are constant, increasing the risk of hearing damage.

Although it may be simple for you to mentally adjust to loud noises, damage is still being done. Because the majority of damage occurs very slowly, many people don't notice the damage to their hearing until a long time after they were first exposed to the loud environment.

According to Clark's explanation, "over-exposure to excessive noise can result in tinnitus (ringing in the ears), sleep disturbances, problems with concentration, and even permanent hearing loss."

Risk assessments should be used by mining companies to evaluate working conditions and noise exposure in order to protect workers from noise.

Engineering controls like vibration dampeners or absorptive panels, which reduce exposures at the noise source or along the noise path, can be used to avoid and reduce exposure.

Additionally, regular machine maintenance is essential for reducing noise.In addition to providing the necessary health and safety training and keeping up-to-date health surveillance records, employers are required to ensure that employees who are exposed to noise use personal hearing protection appropriately.

3. Whole

body vibration Whole body vibration, or WBV for short, is a slow-forming physical danger that mining workers and others who use heavy machinery face.

WBV can be caused in the mining environment by standing or sitting on machinery, as is the case most of the time in mining extraction, or by working on jumbo operators.

“Some types of vibration are acceptable, but when they involve uneven surfaces, vehicle activity like ripping or pushing material in a bulldozer, engine vibrations, or both, they become hazardous.

Clark explains, "WBV symptoms include musculoskeletal disorders, reproductive damage in females, vision impairment, digestive issues, and changes in the cardiovascular system."

Again, mining companies should begin by reducing exposure, which reduces health risks as well. This could mean filling in potholes on roads that haven't been made, reducing the amount of goods or materials that have to be moved, or switching from human-operated machines like remotely controlled conveyors.

Supervisors should reduce the amount of time an employee uses the machine each day when risks cannot be avoided. Training and instruction are essential, and employees with back pain symptoms should be closely monitored.

4. UV Exposure

It is essential for open-pit miners to comprehend the dangers of overexposure to sunlight's ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Overexposure to ultraviolet rays can increase your risk of skin cancer, which is the leading cause of death in Australia.UV rays can not only cause melanomas to grow, but they can also seriously harm your eyes if you don't wear eye protection.

Overexposure to the sun can short-term result in dehydration, headaches, and nausea.According to Clark, mine workers are naturally at a very high risk of developing cancer and eye problems if they are not adequately protected because they spend entire days outside in the scorching sun.

To assist in the creation of appropriate sun protection measures, employers should carry out a risk assessment on scheduled outdoor work.

Utilizing a combination of protection strategies, such as reorganizing work to avoid the peak UV hours of the day, providing natural or artificial shade, providing appropriate protective clothing, and applying sunscreen, is the most effective way to reduce UV exposure.

Employers must also provide employees with training to make them aware of the dangers of UV exposure and the necessary sun protection.

Skin cancer screenings can be included in pre-employment and regular workplace medical examinations by employers.

5. Disorders

affecting the bones, muscles, blood vessels, and nerves are referred to as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

"Mine workers face a wide range of health hazards that fall into this broad category.A trip, a fall, or a heavy lift can cause musculoskeletal damage, but the more serious ones happen slowly over time.According to Clark, this could be because of constant heavy lifting or repetitive strains.

Every workplace health and safety program needs to include a significant component to prevent MSDs.Employers should identify and evaluate job-related MSD hazards and implement controls to reduce workers' exposure to MSD hazards in safe and healthy workplaces.

In addition, workers should be educated on MSD dangers in the workplace and on their jobs, and they should be encouraged to participate in health and safety programs by promptly notifying their supervisors of MSD symptoms or concerns.

To make sure that preventative measures are working, employers should follow up.

6. Thermal stress,

also known as heat stress, is a common health risk for miners.

“Mining environments are frequently very hot and humid, particularly in Australia's outback, which can over time cause workers to experience thermal stress.

The body can become exhausted and stressed if it is overexposed to heat and humidity.According to Clark, this could lead to heat stroke or more serious ongoing health issues.

Companies must conduct a risk assessment that takes into account the work rate, working environment, worker attire, and respiratory protection equipment wherever there is a possibility of heat stress.

Utilize engineering solutions to control the temperature, provide mechanical aids to slow down the work rate, and regulate the amount of time spent in hot environments.

Additionally, special protective clothing with personal cooling systems or breathable fabrics should be provided as personal protective equipment.

In addition, businesses ought to monitor the health of workers who are at risk and offer training to employees, particularly new and young workers.

7. Chemical dangers

Mine workers frequently come into contact with hazardous chemicals.

Polymeric chemicals, for instance, are the most prevalent group of chemicals that are a source of concern in the setting of a coal mine.

Regardless of the chemicals you work with close to, you need to wear the right safety gear and take the right precautions to keep your body from being exposed to them. Clark outlines the dangers, which include poisoning, respiratory issues, and chemical burns.

Employers must conduct risk assessments to establish best practices because each chemical has its own unique set of hazards and must be handled appropriately to ensure worker safety.

It is necessary to establish a standard operating procedure (SOP) that addresses the use of appropriate personal protective equipment, safe handling, safe use, and appropriate disposal.

In addition to general cleanliness and maintenance, ventilation is an essential component in reducing exposure. The spill response and chemical hygiene plans of the company should be the subject of extensive training and drills.


About the author

Lakhwinder Singh

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2022 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.