Mining Pain Points and Solutions: How Technology Makes the Difference

Approximately 230,000 miners work across 11,500 metal/nonmetal mines in the U.S., while 64,000 work in the nation’s 1,000 coal mines. The mining sector employs 3.7 million+ workers worldwide.

In 2020, mining-related deaths declined and the mining industry achieved its highest compliance with U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration health standards, which protect the long-term health and safety of miners. The year 2020 saw all-time-low average concentrations of respirable dust and respirable quartz in underground coal mines, as well as exposure to dust and quartz for miners at highest risk of overexposure to respirable dust.

That said, the agency issued thousands of citations in 2020 for violations of the Mine Safety and Health Act, and the fines for all of those citations add up to millions of dollars. And despite the good news of fewer fatal injuries and fewer citations, miners continue to die and be seriously injured at work.

Our checklist, Digging Deep to Discover Where and How Miners Are Being Hurt, examines the top 10 safety and health violations logged by MSHA inspectors and the actions employers can take to reduce injuries, illnesses and citations, including:

  • Ensure compliance with MSHA standards
  • Protect the health and safety of miners
  • Track annual health examinations, such as audiometric testing
  • Ensure personal protective equipment has been issued and is being used properly
  • Track training

Benchmarking against the Best

At least one mining company, Coeur Mining has utilized innovative technology solutions – drones and robots to investigate areas of mines that might be hazardous to human workers, software platforms to track injury and illness trends and connected wearables – to reduce injuries by 75 percent.

In a time when digital EHS technologies are becoming more visible and accessible, many firms are identifying how adoption of these technologies can support worker safety and operational efficiency. Coeur Mining, which owns and operates silver and gold mines in Canada, Mexico and the United States, has implemented new digital EHS technologies to enhance their safety culture and set the firm’s metrics above and beyond regulatory requirements. 

Coeur identified key areas of risk for its over 2,000 workers and subsequently implemented drone technology, automated machinery and wearable technology across operations. The case study, Coeur Mining Reduces Worker Injuries And Exposure Using Drones And Wearable Technology, explains how the technologies the company uses and the data it collects have supported Coeur in building its safety culture and have driven down injury rates by 75 percent.

Learn how Coeur Mining:

  • Creates a safety ecosystem by integrating drone and wearable technology into its existing management systems 
  • Uses a combination of technologies to create a connected work environment
  • Uses change management to strengthen its safety culture and driven down injury rates by 75 percent
  • Has used new safety technologies to enhance their safety culture and set the firm’s metrics above and beyond regulatory requirements.

Check out our infographic highlights some interesting mine safety and health facts, pain points and solutions.

This entry was posted in Health & Safety Management, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , by Sandy Smith. Bookmark the permalink.

About Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the Director of Global Content and Brand for Intelex Technologies. Formerly the Content Director for EHS Today, she has been writing about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990. Her work as a journalist and editor has been recognized with national and international awards. She has been interviewed about occupational safety and health for national business publications, documentaries and television programs; has served as a panelist on roundtables; and has been the keynote speaker for occupational safety and health conferences.

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