It’s a fact: Mining is one of the most dangerous industries in which to work. Even when everyone does everything they can to prevent and minimise incidents and fatalities, things still can – and do – go wrong.
During the week of the 4th of September 2016, a number of illegal miners became trapped at the Langlaagte disused mine shaft in South Africa. Johannesburg’s oldest gold mine was cordoned off after a fire halted rescue operations. It was not initially clear whether one group was trapped, or a number in numerous locations, but three illegal miners managed to free themselves before rescuers reached them. The reason for the confusion was it was generally known that multiple groups would operate at the closed mine shaft, in different areas.
Even for someone who is in peak physical condition with no chronic ailments, working in a mine poses a significant risk to their health. For someone who suffers from asthma, the stakes are even higher. Miners are at risk of developing lung diseases because of their regular exposure to airborne dust, and miners who are exposed to exhaust from diesel engines have an increased risk of dying from lung cancer.
For instance, when thousands of workers staged a sit-in at the Harmony Gold Mine in South Africa in January, one mine worker’s family were terrified for one of the workers, who was underground without his asthma medication, for an extended period.
Today’s blog will look at how to detect if someone presents symptoms of asthma, how to deal with a mine worker who may suffer from asthma, and ways to monitor your workers if they are vulnerable to developing asthma.
Mining in South Africa directly contributed to the establishment of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in the late 19th century, and today it still accounts for a third of its market capitalisation. It is clear how much mining in South Africa has shaped the country politically, culturally, and economically.
Prepared by: Dr Deonie Botha, Head of Research and Development at NOSA, in conjunction with the School of Mining Engineering, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa.
In 2014, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) published a foresight report on new and emerging occupational safety and health (OSH) risks and challenges. In this foresight report, the EU-OSHA identified five new and emerging risks and challenges that would drive change in the field of occupational safety and health.
In today’s blog, we move into a new area of risk assessments in mining – transporting minerals.
In our final blog discussing how to conduct a surface mining risk assessment we continue with specific risk aspects of winning activities including explosives; face stability; loading; hydraulic mining; water working; ornamental stone quarries; primary block extraction; subdivision into mill blocks and squaring; block topping, and on-site block handling.
In our previous blog we took a look at the first phase of conducting a surface mining risk assessment – the phase of ‘winning’ the material. We continue with carrying out a risk assessment at surface mining operations, focusing on how to assess specific risk aspects of winning activities (such as drilling, noise, entrapment, explosives and face instability). Today, we focus on drilling, and the main hazards associated with this activity.
Today, as we continue to look at risk assessments and how they differ across different industries, we review risk assessments for the mining industry, specifically guidance on how to carry out a risk assessment at surface mining operations. Surface mining operations are defined as activities undertaken during winning, transporting and processing of minerals mined from the surface. In today’s blog, we break down the first phase of conducting a surface mining risk assessment – the phase of ‘winning’ the material.
Prepared by: Dr Deonie Botha
Head of Research and Development, NOSA
In 2014, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) published a foresight report on new and emerging occupational safety and health (OSH) risks and challenges. In this foresight report the EU-OSHA identified five new and emerging risks and challenges that would drive change in the field of occupational safety and health (Cox and Fletcher, 2014).