Health and safety are one of the most crucial topics when talking about coal mining. And that’s because of the common hazards coal mine tunnels pose to underground workers. Thus, the biggest coal mining companies, such as Kestrel in Queensland, employs specific safety measures to avoid such problems. These safety points keep dangers away from workers, keep the operations running smoothly, and even avoid disasters that can burst from one small mistake.
Now, what are some common dangers for coal miners working in underground tunnels?
1. Exposure to toxic substances
Prolonged exposure to toxic substances causes coal mine workers to develop ailments. The Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis, for example, is a serious lung disease caused by coal dust exposure, which leads to lung complications and, eventually, death. Other toxic substances include gases and fumes that mix into the atmosphere is also common.
To address such threats, companies, such as the Kestrel Coal, install the required ventilation in coal mining tunnels. This will help eliminate harmful substances and then dispese natural oxygen inside. Additionally, they provide protective gears for workers as well, such as respiratory protective equipment (RPE) to prevent toxic inhalation. They also conduct regular medical check-ups to monitor each worker’s health condition.
2. Collapsing tunnels
The world has witnessed different mines collapsing because of varying reasons. In August to October 2010 in Chile, for example, an artificial earthquake caused by explosives trapped 33 miners. Back in 1962, a gas and coal dust explosion collapsed a coal mine in China, which killed more than 1,500 miners. These events show the big threats to miners inside a tunnel.
Thus, mining sites such as the Kestrel have built reliable structures for tunnels not to collapse easily. Moreover, they implement sufficient monitoring for all activities, which can help avoid mishaps such as an uncontrolled explosion.
3. Inrush and flooding
Some accidents cause water from reservoirs to rush in and flood the tunnels. In September 2011, water suddenly flooded the Gleision Colliery mine in Wales after 7 workers misused explosives, in which 4 of them were killed. Similar to a tunnel collapse, coal mining companies can avoid such a problem by constructing reliable tunnels and by conducting a close monitoring of all activities.
For example, coal mines such as the Kestrel also install sufficient water drainage plan in the tunnels. This is to reduce or eliminate any flooding that could disrupt the operation and put the miners in possible danger.
4. Fire breakouts
Different from an explosion, fire incidents are also common in coalmine tunnels worldwide. In Centralia, Pennsylvania, for example, a coal mine fire broke out in 1962 which pushed the entire town to evacuate. In fact, the fire is still burning up to this day.
Other causes of coal mine fires are problematic electrical systems and friction from pieces of machinery. This is why big coal mines such as the Kestrel in Queensland install quality electrical systems to and from the tunnels.
Moreover, to avoid fires, companies should implement proper lubrication of pieces of machinery. They should prohibit smoking as well.
5. Other incidents that cause injuries
Aside from the common threats mentioned above, other incidents cause many injuries among coal mine workers. For example, some acquire injuries because of flying rocks, premature blast and misuse of tools while in the tunnel. Thus, mining operators should provide sufficient protective gears for workers, such as appropriate head and eye gears. Sufficient lighting devices can help avoid such accidents too.
These are few of the common hazards coalmine workers face daily. The best mining companies do their best to avoid these incidents for the safety of their workers. It also enables them to achieve smooth mining operations, letting them meet the demands of customers.
In Queensland, Kestrel is one of such companies who care for their workers’ welfare. Know more about them by visiting https://kestrelcoal.com.