Mining and Demolition: Explosives
Blasting is an important part of the mining cycle. At almost every stage large pieces of rocks have to be removed via heavy drilling and explosives. The technology that is involved in the blasting procedure involves breaking up large materials with controlled detonations to ensure a predetermined amount is broken off only. In the past black powder was the main explosive agent used for mine blasting procedures but with developments in the industry, safer alternatives were introduced. This also includes detonating and delaying methods along with a deeper understanding of the mechanics involved in explosions. The success of mining operations largely depends on not only its execution but also the blast design that works behind it. One wrong move or miscalculation can result in massive losses since it can impact the integrity of the mine itself.
Employee responsibilitiesFor that purpose, employees should not be allowed to handle or transport explosives onsite until and unless they have been trained to handle them. Even then they should work under the supervision of a trained and experienced blaster to minimize risks. Employees who drive vehicles that are laden with explosives should also be well versed in state and federal regulations governing that transport. They should also have a fire extinguisher in their vehicle at all times to control accidental explosions. This should have a rating that is no less than 2A 10-BC and should be in working condition at all times. The driver of the vehicle should also be trained in the use of the extinguisher before being allowed behind the wheel. A blaster who works in a mine should have the training, experience and knowledge to handle, store, treat and use explosives as per federal and state mandates. They should also be asked to provide proof of these qualifications along with their ability to perform different explosives safely. In addition, employers have the responsibility to ensure that workers who are assigned to do this job are also aware of the hazards surrounding it via appropriate safety training. This is checked every 3 years by the relevant safety authorities and violations can lead to hefty fines and jail time.
Safety training requirementsThe best way to keep workers safe in a mine with frequent blasting operations is to train them how to do their jobs safely. New hires should be trained to:
- How to operate heavy machinery safely
- How to use personal protective gear around explosion sites
- How to use explosive chemicals safely and without contaminating the area
- What to do in case something goes wrong onsite.
- How to take care of each step in a process
- Health risks that can originate onsite
- Types of accidents they can be involved in on the job
- The results of being inattentive at work
- Hazardous materials in the workplace and their effects on the body if mishandled
- Hidden chemical and physical hazards present onsite.