In Colorado, there are many mining companies. And after the tragic gas explosion in the Utah mine, more concern has been raised over the working conditions in mines. Even the Chilean mine incident shows how dangerous mines can be for workers.
One man in Colorado has spent much of his professional career ensuring that mine owners and miners themselves are properly trained and educated in safe mining procedures. Ensuring safe practices in the mining industry can only help prevent accidents and injuries such as back injuries.
The Colorado man began working as a mine engineer and then eventually moved into a safety director role. He has had a lot of experience working with miners and developing procedures to help decrease the chances of injury. To him, the most important thing is training.
For miners, there are many dangers when working underground. Here are a few examples:
- Gas buildup: if methane gas is ever traced in the air, exhaust fans must be running constantly in order to prevent a gas buildup; if the air is not clear by the time mining work begins, the results could be explosive
- Roof collapse: this can be one of the greatest risks of working underground; this can occur if the roof is not properly supported or if pressure becomes to great in the roof
- Coal dust: too much coal dust in the air can cause respiratory illnesses in miners who are constantly breathing the air into their lungs
There are many other hazards that miners face when working in the mine. But even so, there are safety standards and procedures that exist in order to minimize the risk of suffering work injuries or even a fatal accident on-the-job.
In addition, there are two federal agencies, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Mine Safety and Health Administration that regulate the mining industry to ensure safe work environments.
Source: The Trinidad Times online, "A working life spent keeping miners safe," Steve Block, 25 January 2011