Protecting mine workers from fires, toxic gases

The mining industry in Texas, as elsewhere in the U.S., poses a number of safety hazards, and one of them is the risk for fires. This is to be expected when one combines the presence of toxic gases, often produced by underground conveyor belts, with the use of dangerous equipment. The way to reduce this risk is through proper ventilation and constant atmospheric monitoring.


The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health says that the velocity in air ventilation can impact a company’s ability to detect and suppress fires. Ventilation systems can also carry toxic gases. Changes to mining infrastructure and the use of advanced safety equipment can help to counter the inherent risks.


First, all personal protective equipment must be appropriate for the job. This can include handheld gas detection units, fire-fighting appliances and gas masks. Workers must be trained on their efficient use. Training should cover the safety routes that one should take in case of a fire.


Mining equipment must meet the standards of the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Employers may consider ventilation on demand, which can direct the flow of clean air to those areas where the sensors detect the presence of machinery and workers. There are even appliances that can monitor conveyor belts and the amount of dust and gases they produce.


Employers must do all they can to ensure workplace safety, but they cannot expect to prevent all injuries. This is why the workers’ compensation program is in place to reimburse those who incur on-the-job injuries. Injured employees may file for benefits, which can cover all medical bills and even a portion of lost wages. For assistance, they may turn to a lawyer. With legal representation, they might more easily recover the damages they are entitled to or more smoothly mount an appeal.

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