Whether the emergency is natural or human-caused, preparedness is critical to protecting your workers and business.
Just ask the 33 Chilean workers, who in 2010, were trapped in a collapsed mine for over two months.
Fortunately, they survived.
However, not all emergencies have happy endings.
In 2010, the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine & General Workers’ Unions estimated there are at least 12,000 global mining deaths per year.
Emergencies happen, the key is how to prepare for them before they surface.
One way is to make sure mining work sites have first aid kits and mobile safety totes.
Standard St. John’s Ambulance first aid supplies include bandages, gauze, gloves and so on, but mobile safety totes are larger and water resistant plastic emergency kits which are meant for job specific items.
Wallbridge Mining Company Project Geologist, Natalie MacLean says Wallbridge’s emergency collection features water, a fire starter, rope, a flashlight, a tow strap, duct tape, an axe, soup mix and energy bars.
“The kit is labelled (including a list of contents and additional support supplies to bring) and staff are aware that it is for emergency purposes only,” says MacLean.
The last thing needed is a compromised tote that is missing vital materials which could help someone in desperate need.
Because communication among workers is critical when it comes to emergency planning, the Wallbridge Health & Safety representative decided what materials filled the kit with input from field staff and management.
When planning mobile safety totes, H & S reps, field supervisors, workers and management ideally should join the brainstorming process to guarantee a well-rounded understanding of what potential accidents may arise and what specific contents are required to assist workers in those emergency situations.
Be sure to also collectively decide on the most accessible tote locations based on the quickest routes to accident-prone areas. As a group, identify the problem work spaces and consider the tote’s weight when determining how fast it can be transported to those potential accident zones.
“We developed our kit fairly recently,” MacLean adds, “and thankfully have never had to use it; hopefully we never have to.”
Another tip is to properly label the mobile safety totes with a list of their items and make sure staff are aware they are for emergency purposes only. The last thing needed is a compromised tote that is missing vital materials which could help someone in desperate need.
Yes, an emergency might arrive without an advanced warning but with strong communication and effective planning, mobile safety totes can protect workers from becoming grim statistics on a safety report.