5 Health Hazards That Exist in the Mining Industry

Mines come with their fair share of risks, which all miners need to account for while on the job. In today's blog, we'll be taking a closer look at five common health hazards that can occur in mines throughout Australia.


1. Coal dust / black lung

When working in a mine, particularly coal mines, the inhalation of coal dust can have adverse health effects over time. The continued inhalation of this dust may lead to a health condition that has been colloquially named “miner’s lung” or “black lung”. In reality, this miner’s lung is a type of occupational health hazard that’s part of the pneumoconiosis lung disease group. The severity of it differs between sufferers, but symptoms can include shortness of breath, lung tissue scarring, and even long term ongoing respiratory problems. 


2. Hearing damage

No matter what mine you work at, there’s a lot of noise. The constant cacophony of machines, tools, explosives, breaking earth, and other sounds can do some serious damage to your ears over time. This is, of course, why most wear the proper protective gear to reduce the intensity of the mining sounds. Still, if you expose yourself to too much noise, it could result in tinnitus, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating, or even permanent hearing loss.


3. Whole body vibration (WBV)

Whole body vibration is one of those hazards that miners may not immediately think of, particularly considering how slow and progressive the negative health outcomes are. Basically, if you’re working around or operating heavy machinery or tools that emit strong vibrations when in use, these intense vibrations may result in the following adverse health effects: musculoskeletal disorders, impairments to your vision, digestive issues, cardiovascular changes, and reproduction damage in females.


4. Excessive UV exposure

Living in Australia, most of us are aware of the dangers that excessive UV exposure can have on our bodies, from the initial symptoms of heat exhaustion, dehydration and sunburn to the long term consequences of skin cancer, eye damage and thermal/heat stress. It’s important that if you’re working out in the sun that you’re using sunscreen, wearing protective eye wear and staying hydrated. If the sun’s proving too much, then you may need to rest under the shade for a little while.


5. Dangerous chemicals

In mines, exposure to potentially harmful chemicals is always a possibility. These chemicals can be manufactured or naturally occurring in mines themselves. It’s important to wear the proper safety gear so that the hazardous nature of these chemicals present less of a threat. Improper safety measures could lead to chemical burns, respiratory problems, and poisoning.

Topics: Mining Industry