17:23 | 13/10/2015 Society
(VEN) - Quarries often record a lot of workplace accidents, requiring far better occupational and health safety (OHS) awareness and training for workers, combined with far more severely handling of OHS violators.
Workplace accidents lurk at quarries
An OHS example
According to Director of the Hong Linh Stone Mining and Processing Enterprise Dang Van Minh, the enterprise has recorded no major quarry incidents over nearly a decade thanks to compliance with quarrying and processing procedures and regulations.
Quarrying and processing include three essential phases of rock drilling and blasting, processing stone and loading for transport. The enterprise has also set up three pisions in charge of each phase, with a focus on rock drilling and blasting where there are the largest potential risks of workplace accidents.
To ensure OHS in rock drilling and blasting, the enterprise often sends drillers and blasters on skill examinations every two years. It also requires production teams to monitor the use of personal protective equipment including clothing, footwear, headgear, gloves and waist belts.
The enterprise conducts working environmental monitoring every three months and periodic medical checkups for workers every six months. Thanks to improved OHS activities, the enterprise has recorded a decreased rate of workplace accident combined with an increased output.
Greater OHS awareness is necessary
Although the mineral mining and processing license requires that related enterprises must comply with prescribed technical and OHS requirements on the use of explosives in mining, few quarries bother implementing these requirements.
Most domestic quarrying firms are small-scale, and are focusing more on increasing their revenues than on OHS training for workers. In addition, quarry workers have failed to fully respect OHS regulations.
In order to limit workplace accidents at quarries, related enterprises and agencies should conduct OHS inspection at all quarries in the country and withdraw the license from those quarries that fail to meet OHS requirements.
In addition, greater OHS awareness among employers and employees is required, along with more detailed OHS regulations and related sanctions for OHS violations. Quarrying should be regularly monitored by expert panels.
According to Head of the Department of Works Safety under the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs, fatal accidents often occur at small-scale quarries that have failed to comply with technical and OHS requirements.