Work Health and Safety (WHS) alludes to the principle of study and practice that is connected with keeping health and complete safety and welfare of the individuals and workers working in an organization.WHS is necessary and obligatory from the moral standpoint and the legal and financial points of view. Different factors lead to work health and safety management issues and can be divided into several categories. These categories can be physical hazards faced by the workers, psychological hazards, and biological and chemical hazards.With the advent of new technologies, equipment and machinery and their application in several industries for distinct purposes, the issues linked with them are also rising constantly. Therefore, it is one of the vital issues to focus on for organizations.The organization’s management must use appropriate strategies and regulatory frameworks to ensure that work health and safety management issues do not occur. Furthermore, it must adopt adequateoccupational health and safety management practices.The paper on work health and safety management issues discusses Work Health and Safety (WHS), management of issues related to a particular industry and hazard control practices. The WHS issue considered for this assignment is linked with the mining industry and the employment of explosives for mining purposes.
The issue considered for this assignment is the ‘Employment of Explosives in mining projects.’Projects linked with mining can give rise to several health and safety-related issues and issues connected with employees, including environmental issues such as air quality, waste management, hazardous materials, and energy use. In addition, it can also give rise to occupational health and safety issues such as hazardous substances, ionizing radiation, use of explosiveness, infectious diseases, etc.Furthermore, explosives in mining projects are used for blasting, leading to many health and safety issues for people connected with the mining works.
Proper handling of explosives in mining projects has become an essential concern for the management, including the government and the associated regulatory bodies. Multiple regulations have beenpassed and executed to manage the issue at a large scale. The work health and safety management issue connected with using explosives is not limited to causing health hazards due to air pollution and releasing harmful products and substances. Still, it can also be threatening, causing physical injuries to the people involved in the work.
Blasting uses explosives to break the rocks inside the mines to obtain the minerals and ores. The process is applied in mining projects to obtain vital materials from the Earth’s surface.The explosives blast due to their high heat and pressure on the Earth’s surface.Explosives are selected depending on the mining project, such as the material’s sensitivity, density, fume characteristics and thermal stability. Explosives such as dry mixtures, slurries and emulsions are common examples of explosives used for mining projects.
Holes in which the explosive materials are kept can be drilled in different patterns and rest on the mining project’s requirement and the current condition of the rocks and their surface. The usage of explosives is not limited to mining but is also used in pit mining projects.Information related to blasting can be found in different courses apart from the information mentioned in regulatory guidelines and frameworks. There are certain defined specifications for using explosives, and not following them can lead to serious damages like collision and flying of rocks that can cause physical injury to the people in the place.The vibrations created by the blast must be tolerant. There may be other work health and safety management issues due to the harmful substances being emitted during blasting.
Many workplace incidents and aftereffects can take place in a mine connected with the employees’ work health and safety management issues. A few of the incidents and their aftereffects are discussed in this part.
Physical injury is a potent aftereffectand incident related to using explosives in the mining industry.The blast-related injuries after using explosives can be divided into primary, secondary, and tertiary.Injuries affecting the internal organ of the employees are considered primary.It is caused due to the formation of high-pressure waves during blasting. The tertiary and secondary impact can be caused by the objects flying out of the site due to the explosion. The objects can hit the human body and lead to physical injury in different parts of the body. It can also lead to serious fatalities.
The work health and safety management issues can only make a note of the physical injuries, but certain internal issues can occur in the people in and around the blast site.For example, the outburst of dust due to an explosion is common. The dust contains coal, carbon dioxide, metals and other harmful chemicals which affect the lungs.As a result, people can develop respiratory-related problems. Poor transportation and storage of explosives are also a problem in the mining industry.
Many statistics-based reports show the damagecaused by using explosions in the mining industry.For example, as per a researcher, in between 1978 to 2000 a total of 106 miners were killed and 1050 were injured due to blasting activities. The reason that led to the injuries was majorly related to untimely blasts, flying objects, suffocation caused by fumes, etc. Hence, the figures clearly show how vital it is to manage the explosion and the injuries caused after it.
Adopting best practices cannot control the work health and safety management issue that occurred due to the explosion at mining sites; instead, every organization must develop a proper organizational culture and regulatory frameworks to manage the process.It has been seen that there is a gradual deep in the number of work health and safety management issue occurring at mining sites due to proper organizational culture and adherence to regulatory frameworks. Employees are trained extensively on how to conduct a blast, what issues can arise after the blast and how to handle those issues. The organizational culture decides the awareness and knowledge about the problems among the employees.Culture also helps maintain a good business environment where employees are concerned about theircolleagues.If the organization’s employees remain aware of the WHS norms and safety concerns, it will surely reduce injuries and accidents.
The values and attitudes laid down by organizations can influence work health and safety management issues. If the organization stresses safety, then its employees will also give significance to their and other’s safety.The conduct of employees majorly depends on the values they learn from the organization, and the same gets reflected while performing their duties.But abiding by organizational culture is not the only key to maintaining safety standards; following it with a regulatory framework is a must.Regulatory frameworks ensure that the problems and issues related to WHS do not occur in any industry or organization.
Regulatory frameworks lay down a direction for the employees, following which they can avoid all issues. To safeguard the employees, the regulatory framework mentions certain things to do and things to avoid while working in mines.The framework must cover all work health and safety management issues in its guidelines. Risks related to any project can be controlled and determined by following the regulatory framework.It points out the possible risks that the management and the employees can reduce.Legal protection is another feature of the framework, which makes the organization follow a legal procedure while using explosives. It lays down instructions related to transportation, storage, materials used, the size of the explosion, etc.
Adoption of code of practice: Many organizations follow various codes of practice, including the Australian Explosives Manufacturer Safety Committee Code of Practice. The code lays down safety measures and procedures to control hazards in the mining industry. The managers of mining organizations can follow the code to ensure that the conditions for the explosion are adequate and all safety measures have been adhered including the equipment and materials. Therefore, following a code of practice can help reduce work health and safety management issues.
Employment of trained professionals: The professional conducting the blast plays a significant role in controlling workplace hazards. Individuals conducting the blast must have adequate training in handling explosives.Educational courses and special programs prepare the employees for managing and handling blasts at mining sites.The training helps to maintain safety precautions undertaken before and after the blast. Untrained professionals for an explosion can lead to many work health and safety management issues.
Facilities for transportation and storage: Adopting proper storage and transportation facilities is also significant in controlling hazards occurring at mining sites.There are certain restrictions on the supply of explosive materials and the number of explosions to be carried out on a specific site.The vehicle carrying the explosives also has some restrictions on the number of explosives being carried at one time. The container carrying the explosives and the materials being used also play a significant role in managing the work health and safety management issue. Keeping the explosives away from the explosion site is also essential to control more damage.
Warning activities: Warning devices and procedures related to the usage of devices are crucial for controlling workplace hazards. It helps inform employees on how to handle the explosive. Warning devices must be installed by the management at different blasting sites so that the employees can make a note of them. These devices can be in the form of signboards, flashlights, or horn signals. The movement of vehicles and management of traffic during the explosion process is vital to avoid the occurrence of work health and safety management issue.
Audi guidelines: The processes related to using and conducting explosives must be audited continuously. The transportation of explosives must be audited on time from when it is taken from the official premises to the blasting site.Auditing the blast site is another crucial aspect of the audit procedure. After and before the blast, the site must be checked to ensure no malfunction. It will help to find out the signs leading to danger. Regular inspection of temperature conditions and storage sites is also vital.The audit must follow a checklist, safety codes and national guidelines. It may be used as a benchmark to analyze the activities being undertaken.
Emergency management plan:There may be a possibility that even after following all procedures, there may be a misfire or problem. So, the management must plan an emergency plan in advance to control work health and safety management issues that are not comprehendible.The emergency management plan has provisions related to significant dangers that can arise and the solutions to the problems. Using the solutions, one can mitigate the dangers that could not be accounted for during the explosion. Establishing firm emergency communication, training employees for emergencies, providing supplies, providing medical facilities, etc., must be part of the emergency management plan.
Therefore, the above-discussed hazard control strategies can help control the mining sites’ work health and safety management issues.
The paper has highlighted the work health and safety management issues from using explosives at mining sites.Explosives are used for several purposes in the mining industry. First, it is used to break the rocks in the mining sites to obtain the minerals and ores.The problems that can arise from an explosion can be related to physical injury; the injuries can be in the form of flying objects, illness, suffocation, etc. Therefore, managing projects related to using explosives to control work health and safety management issues is vital.
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