If you run a mining facility, whether in direct mineral extraction or processing, one of the most important things is ensuring that operations run smoothly. The last thing that you want to happen in your facility is an accident. But every year, fatal accidents are reported in different mining facilities. To prepare and avoid such accidents in the mining industry, it is important to understand them.
Methane and Coal Dust Explosions
If your company is involved in mining coal, one of the gases released when coal layers are broken is methane. Because methane is a highly explosive gas, it can easily be ignited by faulty mining tools or improper explosives. When such ignition happens, the fire is further fueled by the flammable coal dust. Methane and coal dust explosions are the main causes of coal mining accidents.
Accidents Related to Blasts
Blasting is the process of breaking rocks to create mining tunnels or loosen mineral rocks. If done improperly, the blast can lead to serious accidents including the following:
- Premature blast.
This problem happens when the detonation for firing the explosive happens earlier than expected. The problem can be caused by carelessness, degenerated explosives, or a faulty fuse. Such accidents can cause serious injuries or fatalities to miners and operators nearby.
- Mine induced seismicity
These are earth moments that are induced by mining activities such as blasts. It is particularly dangerous in underground mining areas. If a mine is located in a seismically active region, blasts can trigger earthquake-like events resulting in the collapse of mine workings and trapping miners. In surface mining, it can also result in the formation of slopes that can become major threats to miners.
If your mining facility uses explosives, the resultant flying rocks can cause major accidents. The accidents mainly happen when miners are too close or the rocks are thrown further than anticipated. In underground mines, fly-rocks cause more accidents than fume poisoning and misfiring.
Misfiring is a partial or complete failure of a blast charge. The remaining explosive on the ground can be triggered by activities such as digging or crushing resulting in injuries or fatalities to operators.
Depending on the nature of your mining, understanding the accidents that can happen is crucial to crafting comprehensive prevention strategies. The focus should be training miners about accidents and building a safety culture. Do not wait until the accidents happen to prepare for them. The time is now!