The mining industry is rife with dangers many of which cause serious health concerns for miners. These include:
Blasting and drilling operations dislodge debris in the form of dust particles that are small enough to be inhaled. With persistent exposure, this can cause pneumoconiosis, a lung disease which is incurable. The silica in the dust can also cause silicosis or Black Lung disease which can scar the lungs irreparably.
Miners usually handle heavy equipment that poses a threat to their lives and health. Besides heavy drills this also include larger industrial machines which are powered by electricity. Since they work in damp conditions, chances of electrocution are high. Worn plug and cables can also cause explosions which can be fatal.
A fire can easily break out in a mine even if it is underground. Gas leaks, faulty electrical connections and even a chemical spill can cause a raging inferno since these can ignite at low temperatures. Coal, whether it is solid or not can ignite quickly as can its dust. Since methane is prevalent in underground mines, the chances of a fire breaking out increase significantly as well.
Underground mines amplify sound waves which can cause hearing loss in the long term. Even if the sound of heavy drills in those confined spaces seems harmless, it is doing damage gradually. That is why most senior miners have serious hearing loss and some also complain of insomnia and concentration issues.
To prevent any of the aforementioned health concerns, site owners and supervisors have to maintain a health and safety plan for workers. This includes providing them with appropriate personal protective equipment or PPE that can prevent injury and health concerns.
For example, to prevent hearing loss among miners, they can ensure that the machines are maintained regularly to reduce noise. They also need to provide miners with noise cancelling headgear that can protect their ears from the persistent sound of drills.
Helping miners avoid or reduce their exposure to certain mining risks can go a long way in increasing production and reducing downtime. OSHA fines construction site owners heavily if they violate certain health and safety standards as well.
All surface contractors and miners have to follow MSHA 46 regulations to ensure their safety in a mine and take an annual refresher course. MSHA New Miner Training program offers more than 25 courses that are spread across the required 8 hours of education miners need remain in compliance.
Whether you work in an underground mine or on the surface, you can get the best training possible with this course. New miners have to complete 24 hours of training within 90 days of being hired by a mining company or contractor and complete at least 4 hours of the training before starting work.