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Reporting Unsafe Conditions at Mines and Quarries

Reporting Unsafe Conditions at Mines and Quarries

The Mining Safety website recently received an email from a worker at a quarry wishing to bring to our attention some very unsafe conditions. It was believed that a visit from officials to do a safety inspection was not performed with the necessary circumspection and professionalism and that more needs to be done to ensure the safety of workers. 
We would like to share an excerpt from the info received. The purpose is not to name and shame the specific site and company – but rather to commend the worker for the effort undertaken to provide such a comprehensive summary. This was shared with the Department of Minerals and Resources and we are pleased to conform that they are attending to this matter.
Department of Minerals and Resources Visit
This Quarry plant was very recently inspected by 4 officials from DMR on the 3rd of April 2014 and the quarry passed the inspection. 
The DMR officials never went further as the offices on the quarry site where they had Burgers and Cokes with the quarry mine manager. 
I herewith formally wish to report an unsafe Quarry due to the following reasons.
  1. Lifting equipment never gets load tested and is in a very poor condition and in daily use by quarry plant staff.
  2. Oxy acetylene gas bottle regulators are a danger as they are leaking gas.
  3. Hoses on the same bottles is full of cracks, perished and a danger 
  4. Extension leads are full of joints and in a very poor condition.
  5. Extreme dust that is not properly controlled when the plant is running
  6. Staff working on machinery and conveyors whilst plant is running.
  7. Machinery and motors running without safety guards.
  8. Feeding container on main plant is busy collapsing due to heavy load of stone on top of it and a life danger for staff working every day inside the container.
  9. Oil and Diesel spillage all over the quarry site and have a negative environmental impact
  10. Water being pumped from the quarry pit and water runs into a community dam (Risk of chemicals from blasting in the water as well as oil and diesel from earth moving equipment)
  11. Blasting occur in less than 150 meters from community houses and a risk for the community as many of flying stones from the blast damage their houses severely. (It is being under constant repair by the owners, damages are seen to by quarry but life danger with the flying rocks is still an issue.
  12. Half the quarry staff does not have the proper PPE 
  13. Dust masks are not worn inside the plant when in operation
  14. Ear plugs are not worn inside plant
  15. Safety glasses are not worn inside plant
  16. Safety officer does not have an idea what is happening in the plant as she sits in her office from 6am to 14h00 when she leaves to go home for the day. Training as safety officer also in question 
  17. No safety talks or meetings are held
  18. No formal induction is held for any staff member
  19. No pre and exit medicals are done for any staff member
  20. COC certificate for the plant is non-existent.
  21. COC certificate for the office are briefly shown to officials and presented as the COC of the plant, officials never get the chance to read it properly.
  22. IOD’s are not on record, staff with serious injuries is taken to a clinic where they are seen to.
  23. 2 Toilets for staff of around 20, the toilets are being used by office staff and in an extremely dirty and unhygienic condition.
  24. The rest of the staff is urinating everywhere in the Quarry plant where they can.
  25. Substation in the plant is in a poor and dirty state, cables and wires everywhere causing major tripping hazards. 
  26. Substation doors always open and everyone can enter and do what they want to do, i.e. Connect extension leads and switching power on and off
  27. Control panels inside the substation are never locked with doors always open
  28. No proper lockout procedure are followed when required to work on machinery and conveyors
  29. Fall arrests (Safety harnesses) not in proper storage and lying all over.
  30. Fall arrests with labels on have expiry dates of 2010 and unsafe to use.
  31. Staff members working on heights not wearing safety harnesses.
  32. The list goes on…..
Walls of container at main plant busy collapsing under heavy stone loads

Container covered with heavy stone

Fall arrests in crate outside in the weather

Oil and diesel spillages all over plant

Electrical cables posing a serious tripping hazard at substation and also in the water when rain

Uncontrolled dust

Uncontrolled dust from existing plant, note the community houses at the back which it at close range of blasting, there is houses to the right that is closer to the quarry pit.

Water inside Quarry pit with possible chemicals from blasting materials and oil/diesel from vehicles being pumped out, (water runs down into a nearby community dam)

People working on heights without safety (Fall arrests) equipment or any assistance

 Quarry makes use of front end loader and excavator to do rigging in the plant with unsafe non load tested chains and anyone that thinks he can do rigging

Cutting discs are being used to grind metal which is unsafe and splinter and can cause a serious injury

Leaking (JoJos) water tanks, pipes and valves next to electrical sub station

Plant in operation without safety guards on jaw crusher and electrical motors

A very unstable platform when crusher is in operation, requires an assistant at all times to be on deck to see that crusher does not block up

In wet weather artisans are to work in these conditions with broken and joint up extension leads and wet plugs on the walls, no proper shelter

Electrical wall plugs wet from water running from the roof when rains

Gas bottle regulators and torches leacking gas, hoses are badly perished and not safe to use

Some employees do not have proper PPE

Unsecured Conveyor blown over by the wind
(Also note there is a new plant to the existing one, the new plant does not have trip wires at all on the new conveyors or the proper guards)

One of the 2 toilets flooded after a little bit of rain
We encourage others to do the same and we will provide the Department of Minerals and Resources with the information and request to respond as a matter of urgency to protect the rights and safety of all workers!

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