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.
For instance, using too many explosives can damage the structure of the rock which can weaken it enough to trigger cave-ins later. It can also lead to thousands of dollars in structural support that can be prevented with calculated blasts.
This is one of the main reasons why blasters have to undergo stringent health and safety training before being allowed in a mine. As one of the most hazardous jobs out there, adherence to safety procedures can save lives.
For 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 requirements
The 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
New workers should also be trained to watch out for common hazards and dangers such as:
- 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.
MSHA New Miner Training
According to the MSHA, all miners, whether they work on the surface or underground, have to follow Part 46 regulations. This involves training which should be taken care of before they are allowed to set foot on site and their education should be supplemented with yearly refresher courses.
No need to sign them up for classes. Sign them up for 360Training’s MSHA New Miner Training program and they can take the course online. It comprises of the 24 hours of instruction necessary for MSHA miner training before new hires can be allowed to work in a mine.
The course will help you and your workers remain safe onsite and remain compliant with regulations that can prevent hefty fines in the future. Sign up today.