Rock quarrying, like mining, often puts workers at risk of sustaining injuries and illnesses. Quarrying doesn’t just affect workers. It can also expose people in surrounding areas to hazards. Serious accidents can develop due to physical dangers posed in quarrying operations, and exposure to airborne chemicals can also increase the risk of illness.
Hazards for Quarry Workers
There are many hazards that can put quarry workers at risk of injury or death. Some dangers in quarry work include:
- Ground failure and instability resulting in slip and fall accidents
- Plant fires or misfires and fly rock that can result in fire and explosion injuries
- Mobile plant collision and roll-over accidents
- Entanglement in machinery such as crushers, conveyors, and screens
- Repetitive motion injuries such as those sustained from lifting, pushing, carrying, and pulling heavy loads
- Falls from heights
Other potential injuries could include loss of ventilation and contaminated environments, such as those created by blast fumes, along with noise damage from machinery such as compressors and grinders. Worker fatigue can also increase the risk of construction accidents as workers become less aware of their surroundings and more prone to making mistakes.
Dangerous Chemical Exposure
Another problem that quarry workers face is that of exposure to harmful chemicals, which are often in the air during quarry work. Respirable dust exposure could cause workers to breathe in dangerous substances such as crystalline silica. Blast fumes can contaminate the air, and sodium cyanide and its reaction products can also cause serious illness.
Mitigating the Risk of Injury and Illness in Quarry Workplaces
To make sure that quarry workers are consistently safe in the workplace, both employees and employers should do what they can to reduce the risk of injury by creating a safe work environment.
One of the ways quarry workers can create a safe workspace is to use personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves for handling abrasives, goggles, and jackets.
Having a risk management process in place and safety protocols that entail identifying and addressing hazards can also make the workplace safer. Employees and employers can work together to remove hazards and follow procedures and policies in place to protect workers.
Taking the right steps to maintain a safe workplace in quarries can help significantly reduce the risk of both work injuries and illnesses in this industry.