Anyone who has ever worked in the mining industry understands first-hand just how immensely difficult it can be. This can stem from the amount of labour to the usage of underground mining technology. Despite technology vastly improving operations and ensuring everything is efficient, it can also pose several safety risks to your crew.
Technology is fast being introduced into the mining sector. But while technology is known to boost efficiency and work performance, workers must know how to use the underground mining technology. To make the mining workplace a much safer place, you need to employ a series of safety measures, otherwise you risk harming both your workforce and your company’s reputation.
Here are five safety tips when handling underground mining technology:
1. Remaining Compliant at All Times
Whenever technology is introduced into the workplace, the first step is to know everything you can about its uses and application. One not only needs to know its purpose but when it should not be used. The workplace must establish a rulebook with health and safety standards and must ensure that everyone complies with all the requirements.
Moreover, it needs to be highlighted that all protocols introduced in the workplace must comply with federal, provincial and municipal standards. Otherwise, you will get a visit from a bureaucrat, slapped with a fine and your operations will be delayed.
2. Educate the Employee About New Technology
One of the biggest problems with technology introduction is that often the worker is only given a brief overview of the process. To get the most out of new technology and ensure safety, the workers must be thoroughly be educated about all aspects including all the positives and negatives.
As a related example, introducing the latest piece of technology to increase productivity is of no use to employees if they are unable to properly handle the equipment. The worker also needs to know any possible hazards associated with mining technology and how they can correctly protect themselves in the event of a breakdown.
In addition, if the worker has been exposed to some chemical, they should know what to do next.
3. Reduce Risks to Enhance Safety
When new technology is introduced in the mining industry the name of the game is to minimize the risks and get the most benefit. Indeed, the company should implement work safety rules and have appropriate health measures in place.
For instance, if there is the release of chemicals like asbestos or beryllium in the environment, the worker must be evaluated by health staff and be monitored to ensure that they are not exposed to higher than recommended levels in future.
4. Perform Audits on Regular Basis
Often when new technology is introduced and implemented into the daily workplace, the managers assume that just because the workers have been provided education on its safety and hazards, the system is good to go.
In today’s environment of litigation, the onus is on the employer to perform random audits to make sure that not only is the technology working as it should be but that the worker is complying with the rules.
For example, if the worker is not using personal protective equipment, they are at risk for injury. The manager should ensure that work practice controls function at the level of administration all the way down to the workers.
5. Maintenance of Equipment is Critical
All equipment needs some type of maintenance. And in the mining industry where there is heavy use of materials and equipment, things are bound to break down.
Thus, the manager should be required to perform routine workplace maintenance. Workers should be asked to provide feedback to what they perceive as hazards to their health; no warning should ever be ignored by management.
Indeed, employee participation is vital to the success of any new technology and the manager should ensure that the workplace is safe.
It can be tough working with underground mining technology. That said, it can be even harder if there aren’t any safety measures in place. By instituting the right protocols and procedures, you can assure your team that the tasks at hand can be completed without any potential dangers.