Despite the operational problems posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, miners improved their safety metrics due to the increased use of safety-related technology, such as automation, and enhanced safety norms and procedures.
FREMONT, CA: Mining is one of the world's largest industries, supplying significant mineral resources to manufacture essential products. However, the hands-on nature of the occupation entails inherent safety risks and dangers. Mining safety must always be at the vanguard of every project requiring deep drilling, blasting, and other potentially hazardous activities.
Mining safety refers to any measures taken to enhance the well-being of a mining crew and ensure that they can operate as safely, responsibly, and effectively as possible. Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) factors on a mine site are probably the essential measures to prioritize.
The good news is that the annual death toll has dramatically reduced in recent decades. This is due in part to stricter safety rules and the development of new technology that promote safer processes and surroundings.
However, there are still numerous indirect elements that can have a direct impact on mine site safety, meaning that attention and awareness are as crucial as ever.
Labor Deficits in Mining: Due to the cyclical nature of mining and the high retirement rates of experienced workers, there are times when labor demand exceeds supply. Personnel shortages can have a significant impact on the safety of a project team. If there is a shortage of trained and experienced staff to operate heavy machinery, mishaps are frequently attributable to the crew's incompetence and (lack of) training/experience.
During labor shortages caused by the ebb and flow of industry demand, engaging with a workforce supplier with a talent pool large enough to survive global labor shortages is essential.
Mental Wellness: Mental illness within a mining crew is a safety threat. To be at their best, miners must also be healthy mentally and emotionally. Companies in the mining industry should be willing to pay for resources such as counseling if it means maintaining the health and productivity of their staff.
Implementation of Mine Safety Equipment and Apparatus: It's one thing to have new, modern safety management systems and advanced procedures to reduce mining hazards; it's another to ensure that they are executed correctly over a project. Each team member, from executives and engineers to crews, must thoroughly incorporate new safety practices into their everyday routines and keep one another accountable. Everyone must participate.
Complacency and Tradition: If miners have performed a task 100 times, it becomes routine, and they tend to pay less attention to it. In the mining industry, a careless error is all it takes to endanger the safety of a whole workforce. Simply put, complacency is not an option. The team's culture must be infused with vigilance. From doing detailed risk assessments and documenting any near misses to noting all potential risks, safety must always be in mind, especially during busy shifts or when a team is struggling with exhaustion. Exist disciplinary measures for dangerous conduct? The project must foster a culture where safety is always a top priority.