Sadly, thousands of people have been injured or killed in mining accidents in the United States. The Mining Safety and Health Administration has passed several acts and initiated regulations to enhance mining safety, but it is still up to each individual mining company -- and each worker -- to follow these protocols and behave as safely as possible while working in the mining industry. If you are new to mining, the best way to start is by looking over these five key aspects of mining health and safety.
1. Respiratory Protection
You may have heard of black lung, a condition that miners used to get before respiratory equipment became commonplace in mines. Today, you must wear a respirator when working in the mine. A mining company usually must provide the respirator and ensure it remains effective at trapping particles, so you don't end up with asthma, lung cancer, and other ailments.
2. Explosive Safety
All mineworkers should be trained in dealing with explosives. Even if you, yourself do not handle the explosives, this training ensures you know what to do when they are being used around you or when something goes wrong. There are also regulations as to how explosives are stored.
3. Fall Prevention
Another common cause of injuries in mines is falling. There may be a risk of falling down a mine shaft or sliding down the side of a steep hill. Each mine is different, but you should be made aware of when a harness is needed, and harnesses should be provided to prevent dangerous falls.
4. Fire Safety
The use of explosives and machinery makes fire a real risk in most mines. Before you even set foot in a mine, you need to be aware of what the particular fire hazards are, how to notice a fire early, and what to do if a fire does break out.
5. Cave-in Prevention
Another source of injuries and deaths in mines is cave-ins. The walls of the mine may collapse in around workers, trapping or crushing them. To prevent cave-ins, there will be restrictions as to how and when you dig or excavate. There will also be conditions under which you delay digging or must conduct additional testing before you dig.
As you continue to pursue a career in mining, keep the safety items above in mind, and also make sure you enroll in an MSHA safety training class to enhance your knowledge. For more information, contact a company like Eagle Mine Safety.