Work in the mining sector has a series of risks, both mild and fatal. As a preventive measure to reduce occupational health and safety risks, mining workers are provided with a series of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that must be used when carrying out their work.
There are many types of mining PPE available on the market today. It is important for miners to choose the right type of mining PPE, and to make sure it fits. Wearing ill-fitting mining PPE can be as dangerous as wearing no mining PPE at all. In addition, by wearing the right PPE, mine workers are helping to maintain their and their co-workers’ health and safety.
The following is a series of PPE that must be worn by mining workers:
- Safety Helmet
The Safety Helmet is designed to protect the head from the potential injury of being hit by hard objects such as iron pipes or falling rocks while workers are in the work area. There are many types of safety helmets, make sure you wear a helmet that is specific for mining work.
- Safety Vest (Reflector Vest)
This vest is equipped with an illuminator, which is a material that glows when exposed to light. The luminescent material in this reflector vest will make you more visible, especially when you are in a work area or low-light locations.
- Safety Shoes
Safety shoes are designed to prevent fatal accidents that may cause foot injuries such as being hit by sharp objects or heavy objects, hot objects, chemical liquids, and so on. Mining safety shoes may be of either leather or rubber construction, depending on whether the mine is dry or wet. Minimum protective requirements for the boot include a full puncture-proof sole with a composite outer layer to prevent slipping, a steel toe cap and a metatarsal guard.
- Eye and Face Protection
Mine workers must wear safety spectacles, googles, or face shields, depending on the operation being performed and the combination of hazards to which the miners are exposed. By using eye protection, workers can be protected from exposure to dust, dirt, splashes of chemicals or small objects, hot or cold steam, electromagnetic wave radiation, and also light emission.
- Safety Mask/Respirator Mask (Air Filter)
Safety Masks designed as filters for inhaled air when working in work areas with poor air quality (e.g. dusty, toxic, and so on). There are various types of masks available, ranging from dust masks to special masks against volatile chemicals. The suitable mask must continue to be worn until the mine ventilation system has cleared the contaminant or reduced it to an acceptable level.
- Safety Gloves
Serves as hand protection when working in places or situations that can result in a hand injury. Safety gloves can protect hands from hot or cold temperatures, electric currents, sparks or chemicals, bumps and scratches that are often experienced by miners to viral and bacterial infections. This is because workers interact a lot with (touch) objects that are hot, sharp, or at risk of being scratched while doing their job.
- Ear Plugs
Ear Plugs are designed to protect the user’s ears from pressure or load noise due to the use of various machines in the mining area. By using earplugs, miners can prevent themselves from having noise-induced hearing loss due to continuous noise exposure.
In mining areas where there is no permanent lighting, the use of headlamps is essential for miners to move and work effectively and safely. The main requirements for a headlamp are that it be rugged, easy to operate with gloved hands, provide sufficient light output for the full duration of a work shift and that it be as light as possible.
- Safety Harness and Safety Rope
This tool functions to limit the movement of workers when working at height to prevent them from falling or bumping into objects. This equipment must be used when working at a height of more than 1.8 meters. The recommended harness is a full-body harness with D-rings placed between the shoulder blades.
- Lifevest (Buoy)
This equipment must be used when the miner’s activities take place in the water/on the water to prevent the risk of drowning. Workers must use this PPE when they cross over waters to reach the mine site.
Worker safety has always been a top priority in the mining industry. By following proper protocols and using the correct personal protective equipment, miners can reduce the risk of injury or death on the job. Therefore, make sure you understand your company’s safety policy and use PPE when working in a mine to stay safe and avoid potential hazards.