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5 most dangerous mining hazards
5 most dangerous hazards that miners face daily:
One of the most common of all underground mining accidents, cave-ins, occur for a number of reasons:
When the walls and ceilings of underground mineshafts have not been properly secured.
As a result of subsidence
If a mineshaft is excavated too deeply, cracks can occur in the floor and walls of the shaft weakening the structure.
Gas explosions often occur in coal mines from a build-up of methane gas. Therefore, good ventilation of the work area is essential to prevent pockets of gas forming. This was the cause of the terrible Pike River explosion in 2010 which killed 29 miners. Gas levels must be monitored at all times and areas evacuated if levels exceed legislated amounts. Equipment used in coal mines must also be closely monitored for faults that can cause sparks and trigger explosions. Ventilation can be viewed as a considerable cost to a mining operation, due to the amount of power required to run the systems.
Chemicals are frequently used to transform the ores from their natural state into usable commodities. Accidents occur when the chemicals are not securely stored and if miners do not follow safety procedures correctly. Miners working with these chemicals must also have adequate ventilation to prevent the risk of inhaling dangerous fumes and dust which can cause long-term physical damage. Acid mine drainage, the act of chemicals leaking from tailings dams can have severe effects on surrounding groundwater and ecosystems and even affect local communities' water systems.
The use of heavy electrical equipment such as drills, industrial machines and lighting always poses serious dangers for mining teams. If the mining environment is damp, workers can easily be electrocuted. Explosions can also easily be triggered by worn cables or plugs.
Fires can occur in mines for a range of reasons, the most common being gas leaks, electrical faults, or the spillage of flammable chemicals.