There’s no argument that safety is one of the biggest priorities for any worksite. No one wants to have workers, contractors, or anyone else injured on their site. In the mining industry, where the risks are great and the environment and equipment can be very dangerous if proper care is not taken, safety is even more important. A big part of ensuring safety in the workplace is adhering to Australian mining safety standards, but what are those standards? Read on to find out.
Who Defines Safety in Australian Mining?
In 2008, the National Mine Safety Framework (NMSF) was developed in order to promote a consistent nationwide occupational health and safety system for the mining industry in Australia. In combination with Safe Work Australia, mining regulations along with a series of Codes of Practice for Mining were drafted and introduced. This body of legislation and standards continues to grow and develop as new mining equipment and technological advances are introduced.
What Are the Australian Safety Standards in the Mining Industry?
Despite the aim of the National Mine Safety Framework, mining safety standards still vary from state to state across Australia. There are also different regulations and legislation for different mining activities. For a rundown on the different acts and legislation and which states they apply in, you can click here to go to the Safe Work Australia website.
What You Can Do to Stay Safe
Along with following the relevant rules and safety regulations set out by each State’s government, there’s plenty that each individual can do to be safer on a mining site.
Know the Risks
There a few inherent risks that are strongly associated with mining activities. It helps to be aware of these so that you can better mitigate them. These risks are:
- Stress on the body—due to manual handling of heavy equipment or high levels of repetitive stressful movement, often resulting in musculoskeletal disorders.
- Falls—with so many uneven surfaces around, slips, trips and falls are quite common.
- Impact with moving machinery—there’s a lot of heavy machinery and other objects moving around on a mine site and it’s not uncommon for unlucky or unaware workers to be hit and injured by these.
Minimise the Risks
Fortunately, there are a few different ways that both workers and managers can help to minimise the effects of these risks. They are:
- Lifting and moving the right way—there’s a reason the phrase ‘lift from the knees’ is so well known. There is usually a right and a wrong way to perform tasks. Workers need to make sure they are moving correctly to avoid injury and stress on their bodies. Frequent breaks are also a good idea to prevent strain.
- Watch your feet—being aware of the uneven ground is one solution. There are also mine-specific boots designed to help stabilise workers on the rough terrain.
- Stay alert and stay aware—generally being hit with moving machinery or objects happens because someone wasn’t paying attention. It pays to stay alert when working on a hazardous site.