Why is Mine Safety Important?

Mining is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Miners are exposed to an array of hazards both above and below ground that can cause serious injury, disability or death. Miners must not only be concerned with their wellbeing, but also that of their colleagues, their employers and the personnel employed by other parties who have access to their mine site.

That’s why it’s important that mine safety is understood by all workers involved in mining activity so they know how to stay safe while working in this environment. Employers need to be aware of the relevant work health and safety (WHS) regulations and have in place mining safety management frameworks to ensure safe work conditions for employees.

What is mine safety?

Mining safety refers to the practice of controlling and managing hazards associated with mining-related activities. It involves the implementation of recognised hazard controls, use of effective personal protective equipment, safe working practices and risk assessment.

Good safety practice must control the hazards to personnel, equipment, the mine itself as well as the broader environment. Mine safety should focus on removing health & safety risks to miners, other associated risks and prevent pollution and contamination.

The importance of safety in mining

Mining is inherently dangerous. This is because mining poses a different set of hazards than other professions, and these hazards can be found anywhere in the world where there are mines. For example, mining sites can expose workers to harsh conditions that include high temperatures and low air pressures; the work involves use of heavy and dangerous equipment and machinery that can pose serious risk to miners explosion; and mining shifts can often be very physically and mentally exhausting. All these factors can potentially have a role in the injury or death of workers, as well as cause serious damage to buildings, equipment and even the environment.

The majority of these risks cannot be eliminated by basic safety precautions—such as wearing protective clothing—but they do require careful attention throughout each shift to ensure that your employees remain safe onsite at all times during their shifts (and after they leave).

Mining safety management and regulation

Mine safety management is a dynamic process for achieving safe working conditions for the miners. It includes response plans, procedures, policies and codes. The right mine safety management system is one that addresses the range of hazards involved within a mining site. Safety management plans should be compliant with the relevant WHS regulations.

In Australia, there is no overarching Federal regulatory framework for the mining industry’s WHS, this means each State and Territory is responsible for regulating mine safety within its borders.

The table below outlines some of the key legislation around mining safety within each State and Territory, however for the most up to date and detailed information please contact your jurisdiction’s relevant governing WHS authority.

New South Wales
  • Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Act 2013
  • Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Regulation 2014
  • Chapter 5.3 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017
  • Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999
  • Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Regulation 2017
  • Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999
  • Coal Mining Safety and Health Regulation 2017
Western Australia
  • Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994
  • Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995
South Australia
  • Chapter 10 of the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (SA)
  • Mines Work Health and Safety (Supplementary Requirements) Act 2012
  • Mines Work Health and Safety (Supplementary Requirements) Regulations 2012
Australian Capital Territory
  • Work Health and Safety Act 2011
  • Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011
Northern Territory
  • Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act
  • Chapter 10 of the Mines Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Regulations

How to improve safety in mining

Good safety practices, complying to WHS regulations  have been shown to dramatically reduce injury rates. Having a number of mine safety frameworks in place also can help establish a safer working environment. These frameworks can outline: safety management accountability (i.e. who is responsible for safety); hazard identification/control; documentation/communication processes; competency training and completion of mining safety courses; incident/emergency management processes; and auditing and maintenance procedures.

With new technologies, updated regulations and more robust frameworks, safer mines are being created continually. Combined, all these measures can help reduce hazards and risks for workers, employers and more broadly the community.

Nivek Industries Promotes Mine Safety 

At Nivek Industries, we support mine safety through the development of new and practical technologies that are aimed at reducing the risks associated with mining and improving safety. Check out our range of versatile mining products today and benefit from a safer work environment.

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