Mining is commonly associated to being an unsafe or hazardous working environment.
Working in mining, you will notice that the safety systems, procedures and standards are more involved with general working activities as compared to many industries.
There is a large variety of resources and tools used in mining companies for safety, some of these systems may / will include:
- Mining legislation / rules
- Basic risk management
- Job risk analysis
- Standard operating procedures
- Safety training systems
- Safety briefs
- Safety discussions and meetings
- Incident reporting systems
- Fit for work systems (e.g. random drug and alcohol testing)
- Fatigue management systems
- Dedicated safety teams / department
- Workforce safety representatives
- Mines rescue teams
- Onsite medical professionals
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Site and area specific inductions and training
Managing risk and keeping the work environment safe in a mine however is not controlled purely by paperwork - it is essential that all employees in the mining industry have a safe attitude and are willing to follow these systems to ensure a safe working environment for all workers.
For students interested in working in mine surveying, you should have the following safety attributes:
- Ability to follow safety system directions (safety adherence).
- Safe working attitude.
- Nil risk-taking behavioural characteristics.
- Willingness to wear PPE (personal protective equipment).
- Good driving skills and vehicle safety and limitation awareness.
- Fitness suitable for carrying equipment over rough or steep terrain.
- Interest in maintaining good health.
- Sunburn and dehydration awareness.
It is important to remember that surveyors also play a role in safety during the mining process. For example:
- Ensuring that design batters are achieved during excavations will increase confidence of wall stability.
- Setting out old underground work limits in open cut mining may prevent risk of cave-ins.
- Providing highwall survey information may assist geotechnical engineers in determining the safety or stability of the wall.
- Maintaining accurate plans for underground mining may also help people stay alive. Surveyors must be reliable and provide accurate plans or design set-outs to ensure safe work can commence.
- Accident investigation surveys to help determine causes of accidents using geospatial data.
Accurately locating hazards such as flooded tunnels or old underground workings could save lives. However, failing to locate such hazards when plans are available could lead to injuries, death, fines or prison sentences. Hence, reinforcing the requirement to work accurately and safely as a mine surveyor.
In most mining role interviews, you will be asked questions relating to unsafe work environments, general safety awareness and your past actions to correct safety issues.