Saving lives and avoiding injury when working on a mining site

Rules and procedures to ensure the safety of workers on a mining site

Every worker on a mine site has a right to a safe working environment. Of course you can never guarantee complete safety anywhere, especially on a mining site where there are so many variables beyond your control. What you can do is minimise the risk. This involves both management and the workers taking responsibility, and everybody working together to make the site as safe as possible for all.

Here are five ways to help ensure safety on a mine site.

Training

The importance of training cannot be emphasised enough. All workers should undergo some sort of training before beginning work on a site, and safety will be a part of that. This is in addition to any operational training. By making your workers undergo regular safety training – both theoretical and practical – you will go a long way to ensuring their safety. Of course workers need to learn that their safety is their responsibility, and that their actions can affect not just their safety but that of their co-workers as well.

 

By making your staff undergo regular training, you not only reinforce what they have already learned in terms of safety but ensure that safety is always upmost in their minds. You can never do enough training, and all training should be followed by regular communications, and even safety quizzes, to ensure that all workers know all the necessary safety measures as well as all emergency protocols at all times. When an accident occurs, you don’t want to start thinking what to do, you want to know instantly and react instinctively.

Toolbox Presentations provided by the Department of Mines and Petroleum.

Supervision

While the first step to safety is personal responsibility, it’s also vital to have a number of supervisors on site who have to enforce and check that all safety precautions are being taken, that all safety equipment is being worn and used correctly, and that workers adhere to all the necessary safety procedures.

This does not take away from personal responsibility but does add an extra level of safety. Workers can get complacent, or forget certain procedures or safety equipment, but making sure you have supervisors constantly looking out for this puts a safety margin in place. By making people strictly aware of all safety procedures, it starts to become a habit that workers don’t need to think about.

Clear signage

Common Safety SignClear and easy to understand signage should be placed at strategic places around any mining site. This includes reminders to wear safety gear, to use the correct safety equipment and any other warnings that workers might forget.

There should also be signage showing escape routes, fire hydrants and first aid kits. These constant reminders assist workers with remembering their safety protocols and will assist anyone in case of an emergency when panic often sets in.

Equipment

Using the correct safety equipment at all times is critical to the safety of all workers. In certain situations, this equipment will save lives and often help prevent serious injury. Workers must know exactly what they are required to wear at all times and when doing specific jobs. They must also know how to use any safety equipment required. This should be drilled into them in training and they should be regularly tested to ensure they retain all pertinent safety information.

Strict emergency protocol

While prevention is always better than cure, when accidents do happen it’s often the first few minutes afterwards that determine the extent of the damage, both to personnel and property. If all workers are well briefed on what to do in specific kinds of emergencies, this can go a long way to preventing injury or fatalities.

Examples include knowing how to raise the alarm, knowing where the fire extinguishers are, evacuating in a calm and efficient manner, and ensuring your colleagues are safe. It’s also imperative that enough workers are trained in basic first aid and of course that there are paramedics on standby not too far from your work site.

Staying safe on a mine safe is a combination of training, protocol, and using the correct equipment amongst other things. Do all the above correctly and you will go a long way to ensuring that all your workers stay safe.