How to Improve Safety Underground

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We all know that mining can be a dangerous occupation. The risks of being killed or injured from rocks fall, explosions and machinery are ever-present hazards. But life underground can get even more complicated when miners start to act unsafely, which unfortunately does happen far too often. 

Sometimes it’s just getting caught up in the thrill of the moment and enjoying an exhilarating lack of consequence. At the same time, other times, it stems from feelings of frustration or anger due to fatigue and stress. In either case, the surest way to make things worse is by doing something you know isn’t safe, even if there’s just a tiny chance of getting caught.

Fortunately, there are several ways to minimize the risk that accidents occur underground. Many of them have nothing to do with regulations or authorities.

First off, it is good to remember that everything you do underground can be observed from above ground. Many miners after years of experience will feel as though they can handle emergencies as a second nature, but modern monitoring is saving lives. 

Secondly, it is important to follow good work and safety procedures in the field. Just one missed step can be deadly and result in fines and increased safety measures being put into place.

Thirdly, it’s important to listen to your superiors and workmates when they give instructions. Often, it is not the particular person issuing orders who holds power but rather their superiors. These will be your friends and co-workers in many cases, and they are only trying to keep you safe.

Finally, be careful backing up a vehicle underground. We all know how common it is to get out of your truck and walk around in front of it before driving off again. This can mean stepping out in front of a truck that you just backed up in the underground.

These simple rules of conduct may seem like common sense. However, they are often overlooked and forgotten when we are at work and mainly underground.

Underground mining is a dangerous occupation because it combines the difficulty of ensuring safety while performing strenuous tasks with limited visibility, decreased communication and very little room for error.

This post was written by Justin Tidd, Director at Becker Mining Communications! For over 15 years, Becker Communications has been the industry’s leader in increasingly more sophisticated electrical mining communication systems. As they expanded into surface mining, railroads, and tunneling they added wireless communication systems, handheld radios, tagging and tracking systems, as well as gas monitoring.

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