One of the most dangerous workplaces is a mine. In the United States, mining explosions have accounted of the loss of hundreds of miners. In 1907, an explosion took the lives of 362 miners at the Monongah Nos. 6 and 8 Coal Mines in Monongah, West Virginia. This was eh largest known incident, but not the last. Although recently deaths in the mining sector have decreased to a historic low in 2015, the 28 who died is 28 too many. Properly executed blasting solutions might have been able to reduce that number significantly.
Blasting: Hazardous and Deadly
One of the most essential features of mining is blasting. It is also the most hazardous. Since the last great mining disaster in 2010 at the Upper Big Branch coalmine, West Virginia owned by Massey – life lost in the explosion totaled 29, the government cracked down further on mining conditions. This is not new. Mines, particularly coalmines, have always been the least safe workplaces. Globally, they continue to offer challenges to the implementation of safety measures.
Everywhere, blasting accounts for a majority of the deaths either directly or indirectly. Three major reasons are behind these blast-related fatalities:
1. The blast occurred too close to the worker – either indicating explosive or worker error
2. The material i.e. rock, was thrown farther than anticipated
3. The explosion occurred prematurely
Such incidents could have been avoided with a little training. Furthermore, the company should have improved employee safety through collaborating with specialists to provide and implement the proper blasting solutions for the workplace.
Blasting and Explosive Solutions for Mines
Over the past decades since the use of black powder and nitroglycerine, technology has kept pace. It continues to develop blasting methods and materials capable of improving production while decreasing the potential risks to miners. The ability to split rock apart without damaging the rock structure is beneficial to all parties involved in the enterprise. In other words, everyone benefits from the right blasting practices. It reduces over-blasting which creates cave-ins that threaten life and slows down production. Improper blasting can also increase the money spent on supports, therefore reducing the profit margin of a mine.
In the past, using explosives was a skill that netted danger pay. Black powder, dynamite and nitroglycerine were not very forgiving if the miner made an error. Today, advances in blasting technology have increased the number of choices. They have also decreased the potential for explosion-related fatalities. However, although this statistic continues to decrease, companies need to ensure the figures continue to go down. One of the better means of doing so is to work with a company on finding the right and safest blasting solutions for your mine or project.
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