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Conference Proceedings

Water in Mining 2006

Conference Proceedings

Water in Mining 2006

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An Occupational Health and Safety Perspective on the Water Systems in Mining

Many aspects of water use in mining are driven by the technical requirements for water. There has been little consideration given to both the safety and the health requirements._x000D_
Workers in the mining industry are exposed to water from a range of treated and untreated sources. The intended use of this water dictates the required quality of the water, sometimes with limited consideration for contact with miners. Particularly for underground workers, there is exposure while working in and walking through groundwater possibly contaminated by hazardous substances._x000D_
Where controls are inadequate the outcomes of this exposure can result in disease, illness and injury - the costs of which can be significant. The situation could also arise where, due to the lack of human exposure, the controls are unwarranted and the financial cost unjustified from a health perspective but warranted from an equipment management standpoint._x000D_
In addition to the health aspects, water can impact on a range of safety issues resulting from high pressure usage, dust suppression, fire fighting and other processes. The protocols and procedures in place need to consider the safety issues in addition to managing water usage._x000D_
The current state of water management in mines from an occupational health and safety perspective has been ascertained from a survey targeting underground and surface coal and metalliferous mines. This survey considered the health and safety issues associated with water use, the types of surveillance, control protocols and the strategies that the mines have in place to manage the health and safety risks associated with water systems._x000D_
The results assisted in the identification of potential occupational health and safety risks associated with water systems and the management processes that may be appropriate from a risk management perspective._x000D_
Health and safety issues are often neglected but remain critical issues affecting the value of water to the mining industry._x000D_
FORMAL CITATION:Bofinger, C and Field, J, 2006. An occupational health and safety perspective on the water systems in mining, in Proceedings Water in Mining 2006, pp 159-164 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).
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  • Published: 2005
  • PDF Size: 0.123 Mb.
  • Unique ID: P200610021

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