Working in underground mines is a very dangerous job. Miners are exposed to potential accidents and hazards normal people could never imagine.
US-based Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM) is educating miners on the best course of action should they ever need to evacuate an area, especially underground.
Newmont’s Health and Safety Manager at the company’s Subika underground mine in Ghana explains an alternative route –refuge chambers.
“Emergency preparedness and response is an integral part of Newmont’s safety management systems,” says Chuck Burns.
“In an underground environment, it is paramount that our emergency plans address the hazards associated with fires and other incidents that can result in irrespirable atmospheres, or situations in which miners can’t breathe without the assistance of a breathing apparatus. Refuge chambers are central to our underground emergency preparedness plans.”
Newmont’s refuge chambers are self-contained underground capsules made of armored steel. They provide miners with safe shelter from underground emergencies such as fires, flooding and lethal gas.
Once in the chamber, miners are advised to sit and wait until rescue crews arrive.
“As in most emergency situations where you find yourself unable to get out of an area, it is always best to stay put and wait for trained personnel to help you safely evacuate the area,” says Randy Squires, Senior Manager, Health and Safety, North America.
In addition to safety chambers, Newmont Mining is continuously training miners to respond to emergencies without hesitation. Frequent training makes it second nature.
“Drills and awareness training on refuge chambers are key components of our emergency preparedness,” explains Burns.
“As a result of this training, our miners know how to evacuate and where to evacuate depending on the emergency and where they are working in the mine.”
In keeping with its motto, "Our safety goal is zero harm," Newmont Mining provides miners with a safe working environment through extensive training protocols to minimize workplace accidents.