The mining industry is a billion-dollar global business. It has a bad reputation for being risky for the workers and dangerous to the environment. If it conducts its operations responsibly, however, mining businesses can build a good name for themselves. With that, in this article, we’ll quickly talk about the safety issues that haunt mining companies and the best ways to address them.
- Dust Exposure
Dust in mining results from a variety of activities, such as drilling, excavation, and digging. Even transportation contributes to dust problems. Exposure to dust harms workers. It increases the risk of silicosis and lung cancer, among other problems. Dust is also bad for the environment as it can contaminate the water supply and contribute to air pollution. Mining companies must invest in dust and odor control systems, such as in the form of misting sprays or cannons. They saturate the source of dust with water particles to prevent dust in the air and to eliminate odor.
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- Heat Stress
Heat stress is one of the most serious health hazards among miners. Heat and humidity in the mining site result in thermal stress. It makes it difficult for miners to concentrate on what they are doing. It causes heat stroke, heat cramps, and heat exhaustion. Drinking water at least three times in an hour or once every 20 minutes is one of the best ways to prevent heat stress. Salt intake is also crucial. It is also important for workers to wear appropriate clothing for proper ventilation.
- UV Exposure
Exposure to the harsh heat of the sun does not only lead to heat stress. It can also cause over-exposure to ultraviolet radiation. UV exposure is one of the leading causes of workplace cancer. UV rays are invisible, but they have a huge health impact amongst miners. It increases the risk of skin cancer. It also damages eyesight, which makes it important to have the right protective gear for the eyes. Nausea, headaches, and dehydration, meanwhile, are the short-term health effects of UV exposure.
Managing noise in mining operations is critical to establishing a safe and healthy workplace. Noise can originate from the equipment used and the mining activities, such as drilling and excavation. Noise can lead to serious hearing problems, such as tinnitus. At its worst, it can lead to hearing loss. Using engineering controls and ear protection are the best ways to minimize exposure to noise.
- Chemical Exposure
Miners are exposed to tons of chemicals, making their job hazardous. Diesel particulate matter, asbestos, coal dust, and silica are the common chemicals that confront miners. Sulfur dioxide, mercury, cyanide, cobalt, cadmium, lead, and nickel can also be present. Contact with the skin and eyes, inhalation, and ingestion are the main pathways these chemicals can harm humans. Using personal protective equipment is one of the best ways to manage the hazards of chemical exposure.
Mining is one of the high-risk jobs that can expose workers to serious health problems. From dust to chemicals, many issues can put the safety of miners at risk. Mining companies need to pay attention to these problems.