6 Things You Should Know About Mine Inspections
Did you know that so far there have been twelve mining fatalities recorded this year in the United States? Mining fatalities have been steadily decreasing as the years have gone by, though major accidents can lead to spikes.
Mining can be a dangerous job, which is why every mine has to have multiple mine inspections per year—two for a surface mine and four for an underground mine.
If you have a mine inspection coming up and you're not sure what to look for, don't worry. Consider this article a brief mine inspection checklist to help prepare you for it.
What Do Mine Inspections Look At?
As stated above, depending on what type of mine you work at, you will have to face two to four inspections a year. Mines that have higher levels of hazardous gases may face more inspections.
When the MSHA inspector comes, they will tour the mine.
It is the inspector's job to make sure that all safety policies are being followed and that the mine has all proper documentation on hand. In addition, an inspector will look at the fire safety and electrical safety of the mine, and make sure that vehicle operator safety is being taken care of.
At the end of the inspection, there will be a closing conference where they review if you have any violations or citations.
1. Review Mine Safety Policies
The importance of this step cannot be stated enough. Review the policies that you are supposed to follow for mine safety well, and review them often.
Thoroughness and repetition are two of the easiest ways for the brain to truly process and memorize something.
Through frequent review and training, it will be easy to ensure that you never forget any protocol, no matter how big or small.
2. Practice Mine Safety
Once you've reviewed all the safety protocols, make sure that you're actively using them. Don't sacrifice your safety to make a job easier.
Mine safety depends on the people who follow it. It is your job to make sure that your employees are sticking to safety guidelines set forth by MSHA. Utilize training to make sure they fully understand the seriousness of the job.
Use data to back up your claims. Some employees will need evidence to believe that they should stick to the guidelines shown to them.
Lastly, make sure that your employees are aware of any possibly dangerous zones in the mines.
3. Stay Organized
As stated before, there are certain documents that the mine inspector is required to look at during any given mine inspection.
Make sure that you keep these documents on hand so that you can present them to the mine inspector easily. This will streamline the inspection process.
When the inspection is done, make sure you keep those documents organized and in a place where you can access them again if you need to.
4. Monitor Hazards Closely
When it comes to mine safety, you must be aware of electrical safety and fire safety. In addition, you need to watch out for hazards like harmful vapors or excess dust from mining.
Mines use plenty of electrical equipment such as power tools, lights, and various machinery, which leads to a lot of cords. To prevent being electrocuted in a damp mine, make sure these cords are insulated and out of walkways.
Staying aware of fire risks can save your life. In underground mines rife with coal or gasses, flames can spread quickly and be almost impossible to put out. Wear protective equipment and prevent any sparks from occurring.
Lastly, make sure that your mine (if underground) is well ventilated. This can prevent a buildup of gasses that would eventually combust. Ventilation combined with methods such as vacuum devices can also protect your lungs from any dust particles.
5. Maintain Your Equipment
Making sure your equipment is constantly up to date will help you pass any mine inspections for sure.
Machinery must be regularly checked to make sure that any brakes or valves don't wear out, as that would result in a potentially fatal loss of control.
Even if the equipment seems to be working fine, it's important to inspect it anyway. Machinery and tools build up layers of dirt and grime that can slow function and even damage some of the equipment parts.
By keeping your equipment cleaned and lubricated, you are protecting your employees and following safety guidelines.
6. Improve Visibility
A clear view of your surroundings can protect you from a lot of potential accidents, such as slips and falls.
When working underground, make sure that personal light sources and stationary lamps can stand all kinds of weather conditions to prevent miners from experiencing sudden blackouts. This will make the pre-blasting and post-blasting procedures much easier.
If working with machinery or mobile equipment, it's essential to make sure that the headlights work. Working headlights can ensure vehicle drivers see other staff, preventing any possibly fatal collisions with personnel or other equipment.
Contact Us for Compliance Training
Now that you've been given a brief list of what to keep in mind for mine inspections, it's time to take the next step. Take one of our mine safety training courses to further prepare yourself.
We offer courses for surface mining and underground mining, so no matter what type of MSHA approved training plan your mine site requires, our training courses can accompany your safety training efforts.
If you're interested in learning more about how to practice mine safety, contact us today.
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