When we think of high-risk occupations, mining springs to mind. People in the mining industry work under extremely hazardous conditions and are out in some of Australia’s most remote and inhospitable locations. It is hardly surprising that stringent safety programs are essential for all mines.
Is your safety program good enough? Here are some of the key areas of risk management and safety planning you should address, and the reasons why you should do so.
Begin at the top
To seriously impact safety at your mine, you need to have strong commitment from management to take safety seriously. This means more than just verbal agreements. Management also needs to provide money, time and resources so that you can effectively build safety into all practices.
Choose your safety supervisors carefully and give them ongoing support to run the program. Be prepared to invest enough money to create and/or keep the whole program running at a high enough level so that it maximises staff welfare. Make sure you provide enough resources to give everyone involved the strongest chance to achieve the best possible safety record for your mine.
Teach, train and explain
Teach your employees how to work safest and explain the reasons behind your methods. All staff must be able to recognise and identify any potentially dangerous situations and know precisely where there are dangers. You can build your own unique safety knowledge base by gearing your training to specific tasks. This type of intensive training and building safe processes might seem labour-intensive, but it will pay off in the longer term.
Standardise manual tasks
Create standard Occupational Safety and Health practices for all of the manual tasks, particularly those considered the most hazardous, performed on site. Workers will operate within safer boundaries when you have specific controls and procedures set in place to which workers must adhere.
Ergonomics experts can provide valuable advice and help to make sure you are using the safest methods when performing tasks. They can work with engineers and designers to adjust any risky equipment or areas.
Keep eyes open
Mining environments tend to change frequently. Your safety program must be able to adapt quickly to any new threats, changes in conditions or equipment. The best method is to charge supervisors and key personnel with watching over your safety programs, making sure workers are doing the right things and reporting any possibly adverse changes.
Identify and adjust to new risks
As soon as you identify any new risks, question them from every possible direction with a full risk assessment and management plan in mind. From there, you can redesign any suspicious equipment or work situation and retrain workers to accommodate the latest risks. When you make risk assessment an ongoing process, you will see a healthy workforce with a proud safety records.
Use the right equipment
Mining companies face a variety of safety challenges, so improve worker safety by using the right equipment for the job. Sitecraft provides a range of equipment for the mining industry.