The mining industry can be a difficult life for many workers with long hours and very limited times to have work off to spend time with their family. As such, when mining accidents and injuries occur, it can be a tragic experience for a worker and their loved ones. Miners, including Fly in, Fly out (FIFO) and Drive in, Drive out (DIDO) all choose to pursue one of the most potentially dangerous professions available to people in Queensland.
A miner’s physical health is arguably one of the most important aspects of keeping their occupation. A mining accident can seriously affect a worker’s ability to make an income. A prolonged injury also leads to escalating medical costs and out of pocket expenses.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Excavators, dump trucks and loaders are common in mining areas and collisions between vehicles, stationary objects and people may occur. This risk increases due to the nature of the mining occupation and increased chances of worker fatigue, stress and anxiety.
Lack of adequate training, equipment or safety processes can increase the chance of an accident with vehicles such as tipping, rollovers and collisions.
Other factors to take into consideration include poor lighting and visibility, weather, worker horseplay and other similar distractions.
If a mine is not properly secured, a mining collapse can occur that can cause injury or even death. The risk of a mine collapse increases when the mine shafts are excavated deeper and require more stringent safety considerations to protect the mine’s integrity.
Workers need to have proper training and implementations in place in order to protect themselves from other risks such as inhaling toxic fumes or preventing chemical spillages. An employer should provide reasonable safety measures such as a ventilation system for the mine.
A Cave-in or mining collapse that trap people underground can cause more than just physical injury. There is also the risk of psychological injuries such as depression, stress and even workplace bullying or traumatic experiences.
Whole body vibration (WVS) can cause low back pain, bone damage, joint and tendon injuries, muscle injuries and other injuries from workers being exposed to a constantly vibrating environment. A few examples include:
- Sitting in heavy vehicles such as bulldozers that cause heavy constant vibration
- Using high power hand tools (which can cause hand arm vibration syndrome or HAVS).
HAVS can cause damage to bones, joints and muscles in the fingers, hand, wrist and elbows.
Operating heavy machinery can be hazardous because fingers and other extremities can be caught in moving parts of machinery. If a machine is not properly secured, it can also lose balance and tip over.
Faulty equipment can lead to a number of injuries such as burns, lacerations and fractures. Even though the standard for tools and other equipment is a fitness for proper purpose, workplaces may be negligent in maintaining their tools in a satisfactory condition to be used by their workers. Negligence can also arise if they fail to provide proper instructions on how to use equipment or tools.
Slips, Trips and Falls
Low lighting in the mines, loose dirt, ground hazards such as cables, hoses, ropes and other risks can be the cause of a slip, trip or fall injury. This can often occur in areas such as highwalls, slopes or mine shaft surfaces with weak structural integrity. If an area has also had significant water build up, or if it has been raining, the muddy ground can be slippery and even more hazardous to work in or maneuver.
Gas Explosions, Electrocution & Fires
Some of the causes of gas explosions, electrocution and fires include:
- Inadequate ventilation
- Improper storage of chemicals and gasses
- Faulty equipment
Even a miniscule flame source such as a cigarette can ignite flammable materials and gas explosions can occur in coal mines that have pockets of methane gas underground.
Exposure to wet environments also increase the risk of electrical hazards from faulty wiring, frayed cables and lack of proper safety equipment.
Fires can occur from flammable liquid spillages, gas leaks or intense outdoor heat that ignites flammable materials.
Chemical & Dust Diseases and Injuries
Chemicals are often used in the mining industry to prepare ores and other materials as commodities. Should these chemicals come into contact with skin, eyes or through inhalation, there is a risk of severe injury or disease.
Dust particles that contain asbestos, coal, silica can be inhaled and lead to medical conditions such as cancer, chronic bronchitis, silicosis, asbestosis, mesothelioma or obstructive pulmonary disease.
The most common musculoskeletal issues for mining workers include:
- Sprains and strains
- Shoulder, back and neck injuries
- Knee injuries such as bursitis.
- Vibration from equipment and hand-held tools that are utilized overhead may also lead to musculoskeletal disorders.
These injuries can occur during the course of employment from heavy manual lifting and the risk increases when the worker is subjected to awkward postures from working in confined areas such as mines.
Meniscal tears, bursitis, osteoarthritis and other wear and tear injuries to the knees can be a common mining injury because squatting and kneeling in enclosed areas make it difficult to stretch or avoid accidents.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Equipment and mine blasting can often involve loud and continuous amounts of noise that could damage to the inner structures of the ear and result in permanent hearing loss.
Contact a Brisbane Mining Injury Lawyer
Speaking with a mining injury lawyer who is also an accredited specialist in personal injury is the best way to be informed of your legal rights to compensation if you have been injured while in the course of employment as a miner. A Brisbane personal injury lawyer will apply the laws to your mining accident and the facts of your situation to assist you with finally receiving the compensation you need.
DO NOT ACCEPT any lump sum offer from WorkCover or your insurance company without first speaking to an accredited specialist in personal injury.
Act now and DO NOT DELAY because strict timelines apply to making a claim.
Simply contact us or fill in the case review form if you would like to meet for a free, no obligation case review of your accident and injuries.