Coal is Australia’s largest energy resource. In fact, Australia is the second-largest exporter of coal in the world. While mining provides these resources for Australians, there is a risk of fire on site and it can be very dangerous if a fire breaks out.
Interested in learning more about how to control a fire in the mining industry? Keep reading to find out how you can create a mining fire protection strategy to keep you and your employees safe.
1. Keep Emergency Equipment Onsite
One of the most important things you can do to control a fire in the mining industry is to keep the emergency equipment on site. If you are working in an industry with a high risk for fires, you need to make sure the proper equipment is readily available at a moment’s notice to keep the fire from spreading.
Keep things like a portable fire extinguisher or a fire blanket nearby so your employees will have access to them in an emergency situation.
2. Utilise Alert Systems
Next, it is vital that you utilize alert systems within a mine. If a fire does break out, it is necessary that you immediately alert employees and workers so everyone can evacuate safely and efficiently.
Alert systems are designed to easily warn everyone on site about the fire danger and while this may seem obvious, it’s a critical step in ensuring comprehensive fire safety and fire control in any mine.
To prevent and control fires in the mining industry, ensuring proper training and adherence to safety protocols is crucial. Consider enrolling in reputable courses like msha training online to equip yourself and your team with the necessary skills to mitigate fire hazards effectively.
3. Hire a Fire Protection Specialist
Something that can help you prevent fires in the mining industry is hiring a fire protection expert. These people are trained to help you identify potential risks to ensure you avoid fire hazards altogether.
Not only can they help you with a comprehensive fire hazard assessment, but they can also help you create a fire protection strategy. This may include training your employees in fire prevention, installing fire suppression systems, training employees on fire incident safety, emergency protocol, and more.
By hiring a specialist, you will be better equipped to not only prevent fires from happening in a mine but also to control them if they should happen to break out.
4. Train Workers to Use Fire Protection Equipment
Not only do you need to keep emergency equipment on site in your mind, but you also need to train your employees to use fire protection equipment. This is an important step in your plan, as it will keep your employees safer and can keep any fires isolated.
One way you can do this is by hiring a fire protection specialist to train your employees. They can walk them through the steps to take in an emergency situation and will show them how to use the fire protection equipment.
They can also walk through the evacuation steps so that your workers will not be at risk for fire-related injuries or fatalities.
5. Conduct a Risk Assessment
As previously mentioned, Fire protection specialists carry out fire risk assessments to help ensure fire prevention and fire safety in the mining industry. This is the first step in developing a fire protection plan to reduce damage and injuries to your employees.
During this risk assessment, you will look for any potential hazards in your surface or underground mines. Depending on the size of your mine, the equipment you use, and more, your hazards will differ from mine to mine.
Some risks may include flammable and combustible liquids, the mined resource, equipment, etc.
To make sure nothing is overlooked, you can utilize a specialist to conduct this risk assessment for you.
6. Regularly Audit and maintain Suppression Systems
Even if you have fire suppression and fire protection systems installed in a mine, this may not be enough. Routinely checking and testing these systems to ensure they are always functioning properly is critical so they will work in the event of an emergency.
To make sure your equipment will function, you must regularly audit, maintain, and repair these systems.
For example, things like hoses and pipes will need to be regularly cleaned. In a mine, dust and dirt can easily build up in these parts which can lead to a fire.
Have a qualified fire protection employee regularly service and inspect these systems to keep your employees safe from a mining fire.
7. Attack with Water, Sand, or Chemicals
If you are unable to prevent a mining fire, one way that you can control fire and keep it from spreading is by attacking it with water, chemicals, or sand.
Each of these will be able to smother the fire and keep it from spreading. One way you can do this is by pumping silt into the area that is in danger to prevent the fire from spreading.
8. Seal a Fire
One of the most common and practical ways to extinguish a fire is by inclosing the fire and sealing it off with air-tight seals. These seals will keep any oxygen from getting to the fire which will naturally smother the fire.
This is a good method because the seals will keep the fire from spreading to other parts of the mine.
9. Kill Fire with Inert Gas
Finally, you can try to kill the fire with inert gas. This is a more expensive solution but may be effective. Essentially, you will pump an inert gas, like carbon dioxide, into the area with a fire. This will remove oxygen from the area to prevent combustion.
Learn More About How to Control a Mine Fire Today
When you work in an industry that has a high risk for fires, it is vital that you learn how to prevent fires and control them when they happen. If you need help with mining fire protection contact our team today and our specialist can advise on the best steps for prevention and controlling a fire for your specific needs.