It’s no secret that the mining industry is risky business. With such a job comes the potential for many hazards, some of which can prove fatal.
From machinery-related injuries to falls—both people and structures or materials—there is an emphasis on the need for more focus on risk assessment and hazard prevention.
To help create a culture of safety in mining, it’s important to consider the implications of thorough risk assessment, and how it can work to reduce the possibility of both non-fatal and fatal injuries in mining.
Conducting a Risk Assessment
The MSHA has, for the sake of ensuring workplace safety for miners, established a method that outlines all the crucial elements of a thorough risk assessment. The acronym SLAM RISKS is used to assist workers in carrying out an effective and holistic assessment and control of risk of hazards present on the job in the mining industry. The guidelines that the acronym promotes are as stated below:
Whatever the task, stop yourself in your tracks and take into consideration the work that is involved. Assess whether this is something that you have the knowledge and training to carry out, if you’ve done this before or not, and if you need some form of permission or assistance in order to do so.
Your eyes are your best friend. Take a close look at the potential hazards that may be present, not just before starting the task, but during and after as well. Evaluate each step of the job at hand and see what risks are present.
The next step is naturally to assess what can be done in order to ensure that a task is carried out as safely as possible. Do you have the right training, knowledge, tools, and skills necessary? What are you lacking that can be acquired to complete the job with minimal risk—more training, or perhaps some much-needed assistance?
Naturally, safety has to be managed by developing and implementing methods of controlling risks, or at least minimizing the chances of potential hazards occurring. All the necessary steps must be taken by both the managers and the laborers to make sure that the task is carried out as securely as is possible.
More on Risk Assessment:
Remember to Keep an Eye Out for Sudden Changes
If any discrepancies or unusual changes occur in the normal working conditions, then it’s no surprise that the threat of risks will be heightened. Keep in mind that you need to watch out for such changes and re-assess the associated risks.
Identify Any and All Potential Hazards
How familiar are you with the different factors involved in the job at hand? This knowledge is a crucial element in helping you assess and identify the potential hazards that may be present. If you are unfamiliar, turn to someone who has the knowledge required to assist you.
Share Your Findings
Whatever you find in your process of risk assessment must be shared with others, especially those who are directly related to or impacted by the task in particular. Employees and employers who are working on the job or are somehow linked to it must be informed of potential risks and possible safety measures.
Know the Impact of Others’ Activities on the Job
When you are conducting a risk assessment, you want to be as thorough as possible. Whatever the task, you need to take into consideration the fact that there may be certain employees whose work is either directly or indirectly impacting the job you are looking to manage. Make sure to analyze what the potential effect will be on the safety of your task.
Safety is the Responsibility of Everyone Involved
When it comes to analyzing and managing risks on the job, there is no sole person who is in charge. Safety in the workplace and protection of employees is the responsibility of everyone that is involved, a crucial aspect in helping to promote a culture of safety in the mining industry.
Working in the mining industry can get significantly risky, with many potential hazards presenting a threat to the safety of workers. Keeping SLAM RISKS in mind can be a crucial step in the process of establishing a higher standard of safety in the workplace.
An MSHA Annual Refresher Training can help employees stay in compliance with the health and safety regulations and uphold a high standard of risk assessment and control in the mining industry.