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5 Reasons Why The Mining Industry Needs Fire Safety Points

Mining is one of the most hazardous industries in the world, with a high risk of fire and explosion. The presence of flammable materials such as oil and gas, electrical equipment, hot surfaces, and long machine run-times can cause spontaneous combustion. 

Fire can cause serious injuries, fatalities, property damage, environmental harm, and business interruption. Fire safety points are essential to safe mining operations. They can prevent, detect, and suppress fires quickly and efficiently, but what are they?

Fire safety points are locations where fire protection equipment and systems are installed and maintained. They include fire extinguishers, fire hoses, sprinkler systems, alarms, fire detection systems, and emergency exits. 

Fire safety points should be strategically placed throughout the mine site. They are essential in areas of increased fire hazards or where people are working. Fire protection companies will ensure your fire safety points are all compliant with local regulations and use high quality products.

Here are five reasons why the mining industry needs fire safety points:

1. To comply with legal and regulatory requirements. 

Mining and petroleum sites in New South Wales must adhere to minimum standards for managing fire risks. These are set out in the Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Regulation 2022. According to the regulation mine operators must 

  • identify and assess fire hazards
  • implement control measures
  • monitor and review their effectiveness
  • and notify the Resources Regulator of certain incidents. 

The regulation also specifies the requirements for emergency plans, emergency exits. Sampling and analysis of airborne contaminants are also specified in the regulation.

2. To protect workers’ health and safety. 

There are many types of fire-related injuries. In addition to direct-heat burns, other types of injuries to be aware of are smoke inhalation and asphyxiation. An additional silent killer is trauma, which can have long-term effects to those involved in a mine site fire.

Fire accounts for 27% of all losses on mine sites in the last five years, according to the NSW Resources Regulator. In some cases, fire can also result in fatalities. 

For example, in November 2019, a worker died while evacuating from a fire at Bulga Surface Operations. Fire safety points can help workers to prevent or escape from fires safely and reduce the potential harm.

3. To reduce property damage and financial losses.

Fire can damage or destroy valuable assets such as machinery, equipment, vehicles, buildings, and infrastructure. Fire can also disrupt production and operations, leading to revenue losses and increased costs. 

A truck fire at Tritton Copper Mine in June 2018 caused an estimated $1 million worth of damage. It also resulted in a two-week shutdown of the mine. Fire safety points can help to minimise the extent and impact of fire damage and facilitate recovery.

4. To mitigate environmental impacts. 

Fire can cause environmental pollution such as smoke emissions, ash deposits, water contamination, soil erosion, and vegetation loss. Fire can also affect biodiversity and wildlife habitats. For example, spontaneous combustion of coal can generate greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane that contribute to climate change. Fire safety points can help to prevent or control fires that may harm the environment.

5. To enhance reputation and social licence. 

Fire can damage the reputation and image of the mining industry and individual operators. It can also erode the trust and confidence of stakeholders such as regulators, customers, investors, communities, and employees. Fire safety points can help to demonstrate the commitment and responsibility of the resources sector to manage fire risks effectively. It also shows the mining industry is not just about coal, precious metals, iron ore or other mineral resources, but protects its people, assets, environment, and society.

Fire safety points are not only a legal obligation but also a business necessity for the mining industry. By investing in fire protection equipment and systems, mining operators reduce their exposure to fire risks and enhance their performance.

However, not all fire protection equipment and systems are created equal. The mining industry is subject to strict regulations. It is important to entrust your fire protection services to an accredited company with experience meeting specific needs and challenges of the mining industry. Such fire protection companies will also provide quality products.

Accredited fire protection companies can offer:

  • Expertise in fire risk assessment and management
  • Customised design and installation of fire protection equipment and systems
  • Regular inspection and maintenance of fire protection equipment and systems
  • Compliance with relevant standards and regulations
  • Training and education for workers on fire prevention and response
  • Emergency support and assistance in case of fire incidents

If you are a mine site manager looking to ensure your fire safety points are effective, reliable and up-to-date, start by hiring an accredited fire protection company.

The cost of non-compliance with fire safety regulations can be significant. The penalty for contravening a health or safety duty that exposes an individual to a risk of death or serious injury or illness is severe. For an individual the maximum penalty is $600,000, or $3 million for a corporation. Look up the Work Health and Safety (Mines) Act 2013 (NSW) for more information.

Therefore, it’s wise to invest in fire safety points that can protect your workers’ health

and safety; your property; your environment; your reputation; your social licence; your bottom line; your future.

If you’re looking for an accredited fire protection company that specialises in the mining industry,

contact us today for a free consultation.

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