There are plenty of clothing and equipment items considered personal protective equipment on a mine site. Some items are more common than others. It might not look like it, but a shoe cover is an important piece of PPE for some mine sites.
What is PPE in Mining?
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is the gear worn or used to stay safe from hazards that can cause workplace injuries. The hazards on a mine site can be physical, such as falling or rolling objects, and can be related to heat, electrical, chemical, noise, or airborne particles.
Importance of PPE in Mining
The mining industry is considered one of the most dangerous occupations in Australia. It has the third-highest fatality rate, accounting for around nine deaths per year. But PPE and better occupational health and safety practices have helped reduce deaths on Australian mine sites by 65% in the 12 years to 2015. In 2003, 12.4 deaths were recorded per 100,000 workers compared to 4.4 per 100,000 in 2015.
Miners often wear high-visibility vests and pants to help drivers see them. Long sleeves and pants protect the skin from chemical splashes and sun exposure. Hearing protection blocks out the loud machinery noise. Gloves protect the hands and wrists from sharp objects, chemicals, or biohazards. Safety glasses protect the eyes from dust and molten metal sparks. Steel cap boots protect the feet from dropped tools, electrical shock, slippery or hot surfaces, and uneven ground.
Depending on the type of mining, workers will use a wide array of equipment. Those working at height will use a safety harness, and for underground mining, PPE includes breathing apparatus and ventilators. Gas detection units are required at some mines as well as proximity warning systems. Communication tools are not only helpful for the business setting but also for safety purposes; radios and mobile phones suitable for remote locations, for example, allow miners to call for help in the event of an injury. Moreover, if a mine site is classified as having a potentially explosive atmosphere, workers need intrinsically safe laptops and mobile phones to be safe.
Shoe Cover PPE for Mining
Shoe covers are essential protective equipment on a mine site as much as other forms of protection. Mines are some of the dirtiest workplaces in Australia; from the red iron ore dust of Western Australia to the black coal dust of New South Wales and Queensland, it all gets into everything. Miners and their clothes and shoes can be covered in dust from the moment their shift starts. Some of the PPE used on mine sites helps protect miners and their environment from dust.
Protection for Technological Equipment
Mine sites require sensitive, expensive technology to keep the mine operating. Some technology needs to be kept dust-free in clean control rooms. The easiest and cheapest way of keeping the dust away is by covering dusty clothes and shoes with products like Shoe Inn. Steel cap shoes must be worn at all times outside a worker’s accommodation, so removing shoes to enter a clean environment or a control room isn’t possible. Instead, disposable shoe covers allow workers to keep their protective shoes on but cover the whole boot so dust doesn’t come off the boot as they walk or sit. After leaving the controlled environment, the shoe cover is slipped off and disposed of.
Food Preparation Areas
Food preparation areas on a mine site must be kept exceptionally clean and hygienic to ensure large numbers of workers don’t suffer from food poisoning or contamination. The floor is just as important as the food prep benchtops. Bringing dust into the kitchen from outside and mixing it with water on the kitchen floor is a recipe for dangerous slips. A non-slip shoe cover can be used when a worker’s shoes are particularly dusty or when there's water on the floor.
Cleaning staff may be required to clean a floor contaminated with a human biohazard. Most likely, their shoes can get contaminated with biological substances and become difficult to clean. On occasions, when a biohazard is present on the floor, cleaners can use waterproof disposable shoe covers to ensure the biohazard doesn’t spread to other parts of the camp or site.
Shoe Cover Dispensers
Fitting shoe covers can become a safety hazard itself. Standing on one foot with the other heavy steel-capped foot in the air while trying to get a shoe cover on can easily cause a staff member to lose their balance and fall. Some mine sites invest in automatic shoe cover dispensers for places where they are mostly used, such as the entrance to the dining hall.
Protective shoe covers and dispensers are perfect for a range of industries, such as the Mining industry. To find out why and for more information, get in touch with Helix Solutions on 1300 29 32 32 or contact us online.