1. Identify the hazards in the case, which can be environmental, situational, human or ergonomic. Environmental Hazards
Mining is a dangerous occupation, and many of these dangers are associated with the environment in which the miners worked. One environmental hazard evident in this case was the dangers the miners encountered while working underground. While working in this type of situation there are always threats of cave-ins and because the environment is underground there would be a lack of natural light.
Situational hazards are known as unsafe conditions which exist when proper measures are not taken by company officials, for example, management not providing proper safe equipment. There are many situational factors apparent in this case; the first situational factor was the high levels of methane gas in the underground mine. The reason for these high methane levels were because the mine was not properly ventilated and methanometers were not working correctly.
A second situational hazard was the ankle-deep coal dust on the mine ground. This is a situational hazard because proper clean-up procedures were not utilized, therefore, causing the working environment to be unsafe. Oil rags and oil spills were not cleaned up on a regular basis at Morragh. There were reports of oil rags being left underground, and oil spills not being cleaned up. This poor house keeping caused the underground working environment to be unsafe. Management at Morragh mine did not acknowledge their occupational health and safety committee. The fact that the OH&S committee was not encouraged to meet and they were not acknowledged makes this a situational hazard.
A fifth situational hazard was the improper maintenance of mining machinery. One miner testified that the machinery was being modified to meet government regulations; the modification of machinery caused it to be defective and therefore should not have been used by workers. Another maintenance worker reported that he was unable to do repairs on machinery because it was needed. Miners were using unsafe machinery supplied by management this is an obvious situational hazard.
A final situational hazard in this case is managements' use of unauthorized miners and equipment underground, this usage caused the mine working environment to be unsafe.
Human hazards are unsafe acts performed by workers because of poor judgment, or because of an employee failing to perform a task. There were many human hazards during the operation of Morragh mine. The first human hazard would be management and government allowing uncertified miners and machinery in the underground mine. This is a human hazard because management and the government are using poor judgment when determining mining operations.
A second human hazard apparent in this case would be management failing to evacuate the mine when methane levels were too high. Reports after the explosion concluded that the methane levels were high enough to require management to issue a stop work order. The report also indicated that methaneometers were not working; this is a human hazard because management failed to ensure that safety regulations were followed.
Clean-up procedures were not a common practice for the workers of Morragh mine. A third human hazard would be poor clean-up practices demonstrated by the -employees of Morragh mine. Management and employees failed to clean-up accumulated coal dust, there were reports of oil spills not being cleaned up and oil rags and buckets being left in the underground mine. This is an unsafe routine because one spark from mining equipment could cause a massive explosion. Another human hazard associated with poor clean-up practices is admission of a supervisor's poor dusting procedures. A supervisor admitted that dusting was not done very often and usually was only done before mining inspectors were scheduled to arrive. Management was also...
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