Mines may make significant fires. More than one-quarter of all losses on Australian mine sites occur due to fires.
It is essential that you take steps to protect your employees from fires. Yet many mining professionals don’t know the essentials about fire safety.
What should you do before any mining project? What are some tools you can buy for mining fire protection? What are the skills you should develop in your workers so they can deal with fires?
Answer these questions and you can prevent a fire from hurting your employees and assets. Here is your quick guide.
Formulate a Preparedness Plan
Before any mining project, you should develop a risk assessment. Start with the mine. Evaluate if the mine has any gases that can trigger a fire.
Take a look at different routes inside your mine. Figure out where your employees will go for their primary tasks. Then see how your workers can evacuate the mine in the event of a fire.
Think about the equipment you will use for your project. Welding and cutting tools can create sparks that set flammable materials on fire. If you need combustible liquids or gases, find a spot where you can store them without any risk.
Keep in mind that fire is just one danger you have to account for. You need to think about the risks of a mine collapse, earthquake, and similar disasters.
You can contact fire protection services if you are having trouble with your plan. Ask questions about the various types of fire protection you can adopt.
Supply Safety Equipment
You have many tools at your disposal for fire protection in the mining industry. You can install a gaseous fire suppression system in most locations, including in exterior settings.
Inert gases include nitrogen and carbon dioxide. They reduce the level of oxygen in the air, suffocating a fire. Yet they may pose a risk to human health, so plan out how your system will function.
Synthetic gases are manufactured gases. They reduce heat in the air and spread chemicals that prevent a fire from starting a chain reaction.
In addition to a fire suppression system, you need a fire alarm system. You should have smoke detectors that will go off throughout your mine. The alarms should be loud and bright enough that all workers can hear them.
You can use fire extinguishers and fire blankets. These are good options if workers will be near areas where a fire can start. They are also good if the mine is cramped.
Give vests and clothes to your workers made from non-flammable substances. You can also provide respirators and oxygen masks so they don’t breathe in smoke.
Run Fire Drills
You should run at least one fire drill during every mining project. Try to run a drill that workers will not be prepared for. They will believe that the alarms are real and act accordingly.
You should prepare the drill with the help of a few workers. Ask them to keep an eye on how other employees are doing while the drill is occurring. You should then ask them questions afterwards and assess what your fire protection needs are.
Ask workers to demonstrate their skills in suppressing fire and treating injuries. If their skills are lacking, you should invite mining industry safety professionals to give lectures. You should also talk to your workers about fire protection in the mining industry.
Treat All Fires Seriously
A worker that sees smoke should respond to it right away. They should don safety equipment, then go to suppress the fire. If they are unable to do so, they should communicate to others about what is going on.
Even a small fire can produce devastating burns or smoke inhalation. The fire must be put out and workers must leave the area if they cannot help.
After any fire, you should evaluate the steps you need to take to increase safety. Talk to the workers who responded to the fire. Investigate how the fire started and work to reduce flammable sources.
A worker hearing a fire alarm go off should stop their equipment and evacuate. Anyone who remains at work while alarms are blaring should be reprimanded.
Learn How to Treat Fire Injuries
Treating injuries should come after an evacuation. A worker who stays behind to treat someone risks becoming injured or killed.
Once people are safely away from the threat they can receive treatment for injuries. Every worker should know how to treat burns. They should apply first-aid treatments and seek immediate medical attention.
Treating smoke inhalation may be more complicated. The injured person should sit upright with their airway free from tight clothing. If they become unconscious, someone may have to perform CPR on them.
A mine fire can cause objects to collapse onto a person. They may suffer from blunt force injuries, including head injuries. All are things to be aware of.
To help respond to injuries, you should provide first-aid kits to workers. The kits should be mobile so your employees can take them as they exit the mine.
First-aid measures administer immediate care to a person. But they are not a complete solution. Someone should call for an ambulance so medical professionals can give more advanced treatment to anyone who may be injured.
The Essentials of Mining Fire Protection
You can protect your miners from devastating fires. Draft a risk assessment plan, charting the routes throughout your mine.
Buy ample supplies of safety equipment. Each mine should have a fire suppression system and respirators for all employees. Extinguishers should accompany a formal suppression system.
Run drills so your workers will take alarms seriously. They should respond to smoke and fire right away and evacuate if a situation is too dangerous. Once outside, injured people should receive first-aid.
The longer you go without protection, the more you risk getting into a disaster. Get fire protection services today.