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.

How to maintain your heavy duty equipment

Heavy duty equipment usually involves large vehicles performing heavy duty tasks, mostly in the construction or mining industries. These machines are very expensive and indispensable to the jobs they perform. They cannot be replaced by humans, only by other expensive heavy duty machines.

While there is a wide variety of machines in this category, they might all operate differently. But when it comes to looking after them, and ensuring these expensive assets enjoy the kind of longevity that their price demands, the process is similar for all. We look at some ways of caring for your heavy duty equipment.

Cleaning

A very basic but critical element of looking after your equipment is keeping them clean, or at least as clean as possible. This is quite challenging as the very nature of their work often revolves around moving earth and soil, excavating, and working in the dirtiest of places. So while these machines can certainly handle the dirt, it’s advisable to still keep them as clean as you can to avoid any dirt build up in their moveable parts. At the end of each day rinse them off, clean the critical areas and make sure you use some sort of lubrication to keep their parts well oiled. Doing this every day might take an extra 20 minutes but could land up adding years to your equipment’s life and ensuring their efficient day-to-day functioning.

Servicing

In addition to keeping them clean, make sure your equipment is serviced on a regular basis. This will keep them in top condition, catch any problems before they become serious and replace any parts before they start causing trouble. These machines are hard workers, and they take a lot of strain. By servicing them regularly you can check for any issues that might cause any damage or even injury if not looked after properly. Servicing will also ensure they keep working in as efficient a manner as possible.

Pay attention to wear and tear

Pay attention now and you’ll pay less cash later. Machines are expensive by nature and can be costly to fix, but if you pick up small problems early and deal with them immediately they won’t turn into expensive nightmares at a later date. By doing regular checks on your equipment and sorting out any wear and tear when it happens, these relatively minor issues won’t deteriorate into major problems, causing additional hassles with other parts of your equipment. Make checking equipment a routine part of the operator’s job and sort those problems earlier rather than later.

Train your operators

Operating heavy duty equipment is not for everyone. Only licensed and qualified operators should be operating this huge machinery, and this is not just a legal requirement. Even if your operators are licensed and qualified you need to make sure they know how to operate the equipment, and insist on additional training if need be. This is critical to the wellbeing of your equipment and the safety of the employees on site. Do not let anyone operate heavy duty equipment without you being 100% sure they can do the job.

Keep them covered

This is not always practical but if you can cover your equipment at night or when not in use do so. Covering them with a tarpaulin or keeping keep them in a warehouse will go a long way to making sure their parts don‘t rust and that sand and dust don’t creep into those tiny trouble-causing spaces. If you can protect your equipment at all from harsh weather conditions, you should.

There you have it – it’s pretty simple, but if you follow some basic rules and protocols when it comes to maintaining your equipment, your most valuable moveable assets can enjoy an extended workable lifespan, saving you time, stress and money in the long run.

If you need more information or maintaining your equipment contact your local specialists.