AMIT 129 Course Schedule

Tentative Lecture Topic Schedule

Week Topic Assignments
Class 1 Syllabus, Blackboard

Mine Safety Intro,  Mining hazards

See Blackboard under Assignments
Class 2 Definitions in open pit mining

Personal protective equipment

See Blackboard under Assignments
Class 3 Mine transportation system and communication system

Check in and check –out system

See Blackboard under Assignments
Class 4 Health, Clean Up and Housekeeping

Dust and their effects

Dust control

Noise effect

Toxic materials


See Blackboard under Assignments
Class 5 Hazard recognition

Analysis of accidents and contributing factors

Causes of accidents

Miner’s responsibility

Proper handling

See Blackboard under Assignments
Class 6 Conveyor system

Conveyor start and stop LO/TO


Pull cords

See Blackboard under Assignments
Class 7 Mine Explosives and Blasting

Toxic fumes

See Blackboard under Assignments
Class 8 Causes of mine emergencies

Mine emergency warning system

Mine map

Emergency evacuation


See Blackboard under Assignments
Class 9 Mine fires and fire fighting

Types of fire

Firefighting equipment

Fire extinguisher

See Blackboard under Assignments
Class 10 Mine Ground Control

Ground failure

Methods in ground control

See Blackboard under Assignments
Class 11 Electricity circuits

Source of electricity

Effects of electricity

See Blackboard under Assignments
Class 12 Crusher and Mill Operation Safety

Crusher blockage


See Blackboard under Assignments
Class 13 Chemical hazards

Health hazard

Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)

Label color

See Blackboard under Assignments
Class 14 General hazards

Course Review for Final

See Blackboard under Assignments
Class 15 Preparing for the jobsite

Final Exam

AMIT 129: Syllabus


Title: Surface Mine Safety

Department/Number: AMIT 129

Credits: 1

Prerequisites: N/A


Names: Tathagata Ghosh, Brian Ellingson

Office Hours: by Appointment

(You may also schedule appointments with the Admin Asst. (907 479-2436)

Telephone/Email: 907-479-2436


Course Textbook:

Wills’ Mineral Processing Technology, 8th edition
B.A Wills, James Finch PhD, Butterworth-Heinemann publisher, 2015

Supplementary Readings: as provided

Any Supplies Required: Notebook or 3 ring binder to store handouts


Rights of miners, introduction to the work environment, ground control, hazard recognition, first aid and explosive safety. Course fulfills the Mine Safety Health Administration requirements for surface miner training. Students are awarded MSHA certificate upon completion of the class.


The goal of the student is to gain broad knowledge of the Mill Operator Technician role in modern mining industry safety. This class will give special emphasis on the Alaskan mining mill operations processes, terminology, process drawings, regulatory agencies, equipment and procedures.


Upon completion of this course the student will be able to:

  1. Identify the role of a mill operator technician in safety.
  2. Understand and explain the terminology utilized by mill operator technicians with mining safety systems.
  3. Understand and explain safety issues related to mine transportation.
  4. Understand and explain safety issues related to conveyors.
  5. Understand and explain safety issues related to Health and Housekeeping
  6. Understand and demonstrate Hazard Recognition as applied by MSHA..
  7. Understand and explain safety issues related to mine explosives and blasting.
  8. Understand and explain mine emergency evacuation, and causes of mine emergencies.
  9. Understand and explain safety issues related to fires and firefighting.
  10. Understand and explain safety issues related to mine ground control.
  11. Understand and explain safety issues related to mine electrical hazards.
  12. Understand and explain safety issues related to chemical hazards.
  13. Understand and explain safety issues related to mine crusher and mill operations, including maintenance.


Instructional methods will include lectures, reading assignments, homework, labs, the use of the Blackboard system, and other digital media.


Assignments and due dates will be provided through the Blackboard system.


Students are expected to comply with the University Student Code of Conduct available for review at:


Classroom Ground Rules:

  1. Turn off cell phones during class. If you must maintain cell phone contact, put the ringer on vibrate and leave the class room to receive a call.
  2. No laptop computers are allowed during class without instructor’s permission.
  3. If you are late for class by over 15 minutes you will receive .5 attendance point. Please find a vacant seat and be seated with a minimum of disturbance to the class.
  4. Respect instructor and classmates.
  5. Restrict talking or conversations that do not include the entire class or add value to the class discussion.
  6. If you do not understand a concept, idea, or explanation, you should ask the instructor or classmate to explain it in a different manner.
  7. All tests will be administered in a closed book- no notes format.

Homework, Class Notes, Power Point presentations, notebooks and Blackboard:

Students are expected to submit legible homework written in a manner suitable for the assignment. Shorthand answers will not be accepted. Answers must communicate the content of the question. The process of writing out both the question and the answer helps the student to retain the information. As an employee you will be expected to communicate clearly in your written communications and this class expects the same level of communication.

As a student you are responsible for taking notes and making certain you understand the information presented. A notebook is a good way to capture and retain this information. Information not covered in your assigned reading will be made available in lecture, in a digital format, or in hard copy. All Class assignments will be initiated from Blackboard. (You may be directed away from Blackboard but you will start in the Blackboard Assignments folder.)

Class Attendance and Participation

Class attendance and participation is very important for meeting the course objectives. Attendance will be taken at the start of each class. Students who are working a rotating shift schedule or missing class on a regular basis need to make prior arrangements with the instructor. The student’s participation portion of the grade is based on the quality (not frequency) of your participation. Those receiving high grades in class participation are those who:

  1. Have prepared for class by completing reading assignments prior to the lecture.
  2. Understand and have completed all assignments neatly, accurately and on-time.
  3. Participate in class discussions by sharing experiences or asking/answering questions.
  4. Present Safety Huddle discussions.
  5. Are willing to volunteer for in-class demonstrations and exercises.
  6. Class participation will be an earned grade for each scheduled class. If you are late you will lose .5 point for class participation. If you are absent you lose the entire point.
  7. Unexcused absences will lose one attendance point. Excused absences will lose .5 attendance point. Excused means that you notified the instructor before the beginning of class. (As you would do if you were notifying an employer.)

Make Up work Policy

Homework and assignments turned in later than the test covering the assignment will receive zero credit and may not be evaluated. Keeping up with class work is expected. If you cannot be present for a test you should contact the instructor beforehand and schedule a time to make up the test. Tests not scheduled for make-up within a week will be scored as a 0.


Grading Scale                                               Evaluation System

A = 100-90%                                                  Exams                                     30%

B =   89-80%                                                  Homework                              20%

C =   79-70%                                                  Attendance/Participation     20%

D =   69-60%                                                  Final Exam                              30%

F =   59% or less

* Plus and minus grades will not be submitted

* The Final exam is comprehensive and will be drawn from material covered over the entire semester.


Extensive support services are available for the student and can be found on the web at: Students are encouraged to form study groups with their peers. The instructor is available to assist students on an as scheduled basis. Students are encouraged to take full advantages of all these services.


UAF has a Disability Services office that operates in conjunction with the College of Rural and Community Development’s (CRCD) campuses and UAF’s Center for Distance Education (CDE). Disability Services, a part of UAF’s Center for Health and Counseling, provides academic accommodations to enrolled students who are identified as being eligible for these services.If you believe you are eligible, please visit on the web or contact a student affairs staff person at your nearest local campus. You can also contact Disability Services on the Fairbanks Campus at (907) 474-7043,

UAF Title IX

University of Alaska Board of Regents have clearly stated in BOR Policy that discrimination, harassment and violence will not be tolerated on any campus of the University of Alaska. If you believe you are experiencing discrimination or any form of harassment including sexual harassment/misconduct/assault, you are encouraged to report that behavior. If you disclose sexual harassment or sexual violence to a faculty member or any university employee, they must notify the UAF Title IX Coordinator about the basic facts of the incident.

Your choices for disclosure include:

1) You may confidentially disclose and access confidential counseling by contacting the UAF Health & Counseling Center at 474-7043;

2) You may access support and file a Title IX report by contacting the UAF Title IX Coordinator at 474-6600;

3) You may file a criminal complaint by contacting the University Police Department at 474-7721

AMIT 129: Lesson 9 Mine Fires and Fire Fighting


Upon completion of this lesson students should be able to:

  • Identify different types of fire.
  • Identify firefighting equipment.
  • Demonstrate use of a fire extinguisher.

Reading & Lecture

The Four Types of Fires

Fire Type A icon fire sign A Wood bases, cloth, paper, rubber, certain plastics
Fire Type B icon fire sign B Flammable liquids, gases, greases, petroleum products
Class C Fire icon fire sign C Electrical equipment
Class D Fire icon fire sign D Combustible metals


These fires occur with ordinary combustible material such as wood, pyritic ore, coal, cloth, paper or oil rags. These materials leave ashes after the fire, so you can associate Class A fires with Ashes. Class A fires are usually fought with water, which cools and dampens the fuel. Also, some special dry chemicals are used to quickly extinguish the flame and prevent reflash.


These fires are burning flammable liquids, such as gasoline, greases, hydraulic oil, diesel fuel, and lubricating oils. The fire occurs in the fumes over the surface of flammable and combustible liquids. Typical Class B fires occur with spills or pools of liquids found near rubber-tired vehicles, drills, bulk fuel storage areas, maintenance shops, and lube operations. Class B fires involve liquids that Boil. These fires are fought with dry chemicals, foam, vaporizing liquids, carbon dioxide and water fog.


These are electrical fires. Typical electric fires include electric motors (as used in fans), batteries, battery chargers, transformers, and circuit breakers. You can associate Class C fires with the electric Current. Class C fires are fought with non-conducting agents, such as dry chemicals, carbon dioxide, and vaporizing liquids. If the current is still on do not fight the fire with water or foam because these conduct electricity, and thereby pose another hazard to fire fighters. Once electricity is cut off the fire can be treated as a Class A or B fire, thereby permitting use of water.


These fires involve combustible metals such as magnesium, titanium, zirconium, and sodium. These fires require special extinguishing agents and fire fighting techniques. Normal extinguishing agents should not be used to fight Class D fires because they could make the fire worse. This is because they may have a hazardous chemical reaction with the burning metal.

Video: Mine Fire Training

Video: Coal Mine Fire Training

When a fire is discovered, your immediate reaction in fighting the fire is crucial. Mere seconds are available for preventing the spread of the fire. For this reason you should know where the nearest fire extinguisher is located, and whether it is permissible for this type of fire. If you are uncertain about the contents of the extinguisher, read the main instructions on the body of the canister.

For most portable fire extinguishers, you usually have to stand no more than 8 feet from the fire. Direct the stream at the base of the flame, not higher up at the smoke. A 30-pound extinguisher will normally last 18 to 25 seconds. Do not turn your back to a fire. When the fire is extinguished, back away from it and watch for any flare up.

Fire Fighting Equipment and Methods

The mine’s fire prevention and fire fighting plan is designed to reduce the opportunity for a fire starting, and should one occur, to limit the extent of its destruction. The damage resulting from a fire can be minimized through adequate fire protection. Fire protection consists of monitoring and controlling fire hazards, available fire fighting equipment, especially portable fire extinguishers, and the personnel who are trained to use the equipment effectively in the event of a fire. The following are some good fire prevention techniques.

Basics of Fire

  1. The necessary ingredients of a fire are fuel, oxygen, and heat. Fire fighting calls for removal of at least one of these ingredients. The fuel can be moved to a safer location. Oxygen can be sealed off from the fire, thereby suffocating it. Or the fire’s heat can be reduced by cooling the fuel.
  2. Fires have been classified into four types based on the kind of fuel involved in the fire. These different kinds of fires are fought in different ways. In fact, using the wrong kind of chemical to extinguish the fire can even spread the fire further.

Video: Types of Fire Extinguishers and Their Uses


Video: Fire Extinguisher Types and Uses


Fire Extinguisher Types

Extinguisher Types of Fire
Color Type Solids (wood, paper, cloth, etc) Flammable Liquids Flammable Gasses Electrical Equipment Cooking Oil & Fats Special Notes
Types of Fire Extinguishers -Water Water check-mark No No No No Dangerous if used on “liquid fires” or live electricity.
TypesOfFireExtinguishers-foam Foam check-mark check-mark No No No Not practical for home use
 Type of Fire Extinguishers - powder Dry Powder check-mark check-mark check-mark check-mark No  Safe use up to 1000v.
Types Of Fire Extinguishers - CO2 Carbon Dioxide (CO2) No check-mark No check-mark check-mark Safe on high and low voltages.





AMIT 129: Lesson 8 Mine Maps, Emergency Evacuation, Barricading


At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Explain the use mine maps.
  • Describe escapeways.
  • Identify causes of mine emergencies.
  • Explain fire in mines.
  • Describe hazards of toxic gases in mines.
  • Explain mine emergency warning systems.
  • Summarize emergency evacuation systems.

Reading & Lecture

A mine map is a schematic drawing on paper of the mine workings, drawn according to scale and showing all important features of the mine. The mine map is designed by a competent engineer and is periodically updated to reflect all changes in the mine, such as new development areas, abandoned areas, or drill holes.

The mine map shows all important features of the mine. The following list represents the kinds of features that might be shown on the map. The actual contents of the map depend on important features at the mine.

  1. Name and address of the mine
  2. The scale and orientation of the map
  3. The property or boundary lines of the mine
  4. The adit shafts, stops, drifts, tunnels, entries, rooms, crosscuts, and all other excavations of the ore bed being mined
  5. All drill holes that penetrate the ore bed being mined
  6. Dip of the ore bed
  7. Any outcrop of the ore bed within the bounds of the property
  8. The elevations of tops and bottoms of shafts and slopes.
  9. The elevation of the floor at intervals of not more than two hundred feet for:
    1. At least one entry of each working section and one intersection.
    2. Developments advancing toward or adjacent to property or boundary lines or adjacent mines.
  10. Contour lines passing through whole number elevations of the ore bed being mined.
  11. Entries and air courses with the direction of air flow indicated by arrows, and location of fan controls.
  12. The location of all mine ventilation fans.
  13. Escapeways throughout all levels of the mine.
  14. The known underground workings in the same ore bed on the adjoining properties within one thousand feet of such mine workings and projections.
  15. The location and elevation of any body of water dammed in the mine or held back in any portion of the mine.
  16. The abandoned portion or portions of the aline.
  17. Mines above or below the mine workings.
  18. The location of any streams or bodies of water on the surface.
  19. Either producing or abandoned oil and gas wells located within five hundred feet of the mine.
  20. The location of all high pressure pipelines, high voltage power lines and roads.
  21. The location of railroad tracks and public highways leading to the mine and mine buildings of a permanent nature and showing identifying names.
  22. Where the overburden is less than one hundred feet, any dwellings.
  23. Major underground travelways and haulageways and ore passes at the mine.
  24. Major underground facilities including lunchrooms, refuge areas, mine shafts, shops, storage facilities (explosives, fuel, supply), and locations of underground telephones.


Mine Emergency Evacuation Video

Emergency Evacuation Video

Causes of Mine Emergencies

Accidental explosions

  • Dynamite
  • Fuel tanks
  • Electrical Equipment
  • Certain mine gases (hydrogen, methane, etc.)


  • Timber
  • Rubber tires
  • Electrical equipment, including batteries and battery chargers
  • Combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, zirconium, and sodium.
  • Rubbish
  • Petroleum products

Toxic gases

  • Gases from undetonated explosives
  • Gases from exploding batteries or other burning electrical equipment
  • Fumes from certain petroleum products
  • Gases from the ore itself

Loss of ventilation due to accidental failure of ventilation fans.

Inundation from water flooding into the mine.

Mine Warning System

Types of warning systems

  1. Visible – colored lights (red or blue, for example) mounted on stands in various parts of the mine.
  2. Audible – emergency alarms that can be heard over most mining equipment throughout the mine.
  3. Smell – stench canisters that release a chemical smelling like rotten eggs. The stench is carried through the mine by ventilation system and fills the entire mine within minutes.
  4. Mantrip drivers – drivers may give personal warnings to individual miners and pick them up for immediate transportation out of the mine.

Emergency Responses of a Miner

  1. The first thing to do in a mine emergency is warn other miners of the situation. Tell everyone to pass the word along so as to assure that all miners are aware of the emergency situation.
  2. Use your self-rescuer if the situation calls for it. In the event of a fire or explosion, put it on automatically in order to minimize your breathing carbon monoxide.
  3. Gather together in designated places according to the mine’s fire and evacuation plan. Stay together and remain calm.
  4. Provide first-aid to any injured miners. If any miners are unable to walk, use a first-aid stretcher or build age using whatever materials (planks, rods, fencing) are available.
  5. A supervisor should take charge of planning and organizing. Because of his experience and knowledge, you should respect and follow his orders. If no supervisor is present, one senior miner should take on the leadership of the group.
  6. If the phones are working, report your situation, location, and intentions to the dispatcher or operator. He may have some helpful information. If you are wearing your self-rescuer, do not remove it. You could use a code system such as the hoist signal system to communicate with the dispatcher by lightly hitting the phone with a tool.

Escapeways and Emergency Evacuation

  1. Your knowledge of the locations of all exits and escapeways from the mine is extremely important. If the main exit out of the mine is blocked, you must be familiar with the secondary route.
    1. Part 57-11-50 states that: “Every mine shall have two or more separate, properly maintained escapeways to the surface from the lowest levels which are so positioned that damage to one shall not lessen the effectiveness of the ethers”.
    2. Escapeways are periodically inspected and maintained in acceptable condition. The law requires that escapeways be maintained in a safe and travelable condition, and that they be marked with conspicuous and easily read direction signs that clearly indicate the ways of escape. For your reference, a mine map is posted at all shaft stations, and at all underground shops, lunchrooms, and other areas where miners congregate. You should know where these locations are from your working area.
    3. When an emergency occurs, you should attempt to reach fresh intake air above the fire or explosion. Air on the return side of the fire or explosion will contain carbon monoxide against which you should use your self-rescuer for protection.
    4. The final leg of your escape from the mine may be traveling an emergency hoist to the surface. Try to remain orderly and calm while waiting for the hoist, and keep your self-rescuer on if you are using it. Follow your supervisor’s orders, and let injured miners take the hoist first so that they can receive medical attention quickly.
    5. After you reach the surface, contact a supervisor or the mine operator immediately so he will know you are out of the mine.
  2. Emergency Evacuation Plan
    1. If you are going to evacuate, first try the route into the intake air so that you will be in fresh air. If that route is blocked, then try the secondary escapeway.
    2. You should carry your lunch bucket because you may need food if you are trapped or if you are forced to barricade.
    3. If the mine is full of dense smoke, use a rope if one is available to tie the miners in a line. Otherwise, keep close together so that no one gets lost from the group. Keep a look-out for fires or other hazardous conditions.

Trapped Miners in San Jose Mine, Chile

Diagram of the Chilean Miner Rescue - threefold rescue plan
A section view of the mine, started in 1895. The cause of the blockage was the collapse of some 750.000 tons of rock.
A diagram of the mine accident details for the mine incident in San Jose
CC BY-SA 3.0

Video: An In-Situ Refuge Container Overview




AMIT 129: Lesson 7 Mine Explosives and Blasting


Upon completion of this lesson students should be able to:

  • Describe types of explosives.
  • Explain the basics of handling explosives.
  • Explain the basics of toxic fumes.
  • Demonstrate safe work procedures.

Reading & Lecture

Mine Blasting

Blasting is the process of breaking rocks into small pieces by use of explosives.

Types of Explosives:

  • Explosives based on chemical nature
  • Explosives based on availability

Blasting in an open cut mine.


Explosives Types

The most important responsibility of the blaster in charge is to prepare and fire safely. They are to practice safety in transportation, storage, handling, and the proper use of explosives.

Mine Explosives


  • Black Powders (Early Times) – SN + Sulfur + Carbon
  • Dynamite – NG + Wood Pulp (or SN)
  • ANFO (Blasting Agents) – Ammonium Nitrate + Fuel Oil
  • Water Gel, Slurry & Emulsion
  • Detonators (Blasting Caps) – Electric, NONEL & Electronic
  • Safety Fuses
  • NONEL (Shock) Tubes
  • Detonating Cords
  • Primers & Boosters


Packaged Emulsions

Hazards in Use of Explosives


A. Transportation hazards

  1. The vehicle used to transport explosives should be in good operating condition. If the vehicle were to get a flat tire or lose its brakes It would lead to a serious hazard for everyone. The cargo space in which the explosives are stored should be of non-sparking material. If the vehicle got into an accident with damage to the cargo area, you would want to minimize any sparks that could set off the explosives.
  2. Detonators and explosives should be kept apart by at least four inches of hardwood, or transported separately. If a detonator were to accidentally fire this would prevent it from setting off any explosives.
  3. Explosives should be transported at times when the fewest number of people will be endangered. During shift change or before or after personnel are transported into or out of the mine is usually a good time to bring explosives into the mine.
  4. Explosives should not be stacked higher than the sideboards of the vehicle. If the vehicle were to hit a bump some boxes could fall off the side.
  5. No smoking is permitted on or near the vehicle. Hot ashes or flames pose a danger when mixed with powder.
  6. If ANFO or any other powder is spilled it should be immediately cleaned up.
  7. Do not ride on the cage when it is being used to transport explosive material.
  8. Vehicles should be driven carefully and excessive speeds should be avoided. Do not drive over unbridged power cables.
  9. Vehicles loaded with explosives should not drive into any maintenance area where sparks from welding or stray electric currents could set off explosives.


B. Detonator Hazards

  1. Do not let leg wires and detonators come into contact with electrical equipment, wires or rails. These may carry enough of a current to set off the charge.
  2. Caps can deteriorate and become more sensitive because of age. Caps may also become useless from such damage as being kinked, exposed to extreme heat, or contaminated with water. They should be properly disposed but only by experienced powdermen.


C. Magazine Hazards

  1. Magazines must be built in dry, isolated areas of the mine so as to be well ventilated, bullet-proof, locked, and have non-sparking material on the inside wall. It must be marked with a sign located in such a place that if a bullet were to be fired into it the bullet would not pass into the stored powder.
  2. Flammable materials such as fuel or oil should not be stored near a magazine.
  3. Smoking in and around a magazine is prohibited.
  4. Detonators and explosives should not be stored together in the same magazine. Separate magazines for them should be at least 25 feet apart.
  5. The magazine must be kept clean of ti ash, empty boxes, and paper at all times. They are both a fire hazard and a cause of slips and falls.
  6. No electric wiring or open lights should be taken into a magazine.
  7. Surplus or loose explosives should not be left in unsecured areas such as cuts, passes, or by the outside walls of the magazine.

Non-electric Detonators

D. Blasting Hazards


A misfire is a loaded hole that fails to fire. The procedure following firing a round is that the blaster or supervisor will inspect the muck pile for misfires. No one else is permitted to enter the area until the all-clear signal is given.

  1. If the blaster finds a misfire he will attempt to re-wire and detonate it or flush it out of the drill hole with water and then dispose of it.
  2. After the blast the rock pile should be hosed down with water to keep the dust settled.
  3. In the event the misfire is completely covered by rock, the blaster may not see it. This results in a very dangerous situation. Do not attempt to move it yourself. If you discover a misfire in the rock, work should stop immediately, the area should be cleared and guarded, and the supervisor should be contacted.
  4. Toxic fumes may be found after detonation. You can avoid these fumes by remaining out of the blast area until ventilation dilutes the gases and carries them out of the mine.
    • Carbon monoxide can be detected by observing one of the first symptoms of such poisoning – headache pain.
    • Explosives containing nitroglycerine or other nitro compounds may burn rather than detonate. One gas resulting from this is nitrogen dioxide which is extremely dangerous to your lungs in small amounts. It has a burned powder odor.
    • Wet ANFO will generate nitrous oxide fumes.
  5. After the blast the rock pile should be hosed down with water to keep the dust settled.


Overshooting results from either an excessive use of explosives, an improperly sized drill hole, or holes that are not properly placed according to the delay pattern. Undershooting is just the opposite. Overshooting weakens the remaining deposit making it susceptible to falls and may require use of supports. Undershooting results in an uneven face and creates haulage problems by having to move larger sized rocks.

 Fly Rock

Fly rock consists of pieces of rock blown from the shot area by the explosive force. This rock can be lethal because of its , weight and velocity of travel. Flyrock is also caused by a blowout. When a blast hole is not drilled deep enough into the rock, the explosive force blows the rock out into the drift or work area.

Flyrock has killed and injured people
A link to the CDC’s guide to flyrock awareness

Electrical Hazards

Electrical hazards are present if the mine uses electric blasting caps.

  1. Natural sources like static electricity or lightning storms.
  2. Man-made sources like stray electricity and radio transmitters.
  3. Only special galvanometers should be used to test continuity. Regular galvanometers may set off the charge. If you find a cap in the muck pile do not attempt to test the leg wires – only experienced powdermen are equipped to do such work.
  4. Any power equipment with leaking current presents a hazard.
  5. Static charge built up from pneumatic loading equipment.


Never drill into a bootleg – it could contain a charge of powder that might detonate when struck by the drill steel. Prior checks of the hole may have accidentally not detected the powder, so do not take any shortcuts.

Safe Work Procedures with Explosives


Task training is given to the powder crew to increase their technical skills in the use of explosives. Only experienced people trained in use of explosives or working under close supervision should work with explosives. All other miners should stay out of the way while the powder crew works unless assigned to the area.

Clearing the Blast Area

Clearing the blast area is very important. Unless the area is secured, other people may unknowingly walk into a life threatening situation from either the blast itself or the toxic fumes that follow the blast.

  1. The blasting crew will clear the area of all personnel, and then give a warning signal before setting of the round. Guards should be posted at all entrances to the area with specific instructions to keep everyone out. Guards should not leave their post even for a moment because someone could walk past without being seen. Guards must remain at their posts until specifically told to return to their regular work.
  2. Equipment should be moved clear of the blast area to prevent damage.
  3. Miners should stand clear of the blast area, such as behind equipment, to protect themselves from being hit by flyrock. Always give yourself enough room to stay clear.
An image of a warning sign outside of a mining area.
Photo by Kimon Berlin

Re-Entering the Blast Area

Before resumption of work, a supervisor or blaster will inspect the blast area for misfires and fumes. No one should enter this area past the guards until the all-clear signal is given by this person.

Reporting Undetonated or Misfired Explosives

Any miner who discovers an undetonated explosive near a magazine or along a haulageway, or a misfired explosive near their work area shall halt work, clear everyone out of the area and guard it, and notify a supervisor about the hazardous situation. Never attempt to move the explosive yourself because it may be very unstable and could go off in your hand.

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Hard hat
  • Safety Toed Shoes
  • Reflective Vest
  • Safety Glasses
  • Gloves
  • Hearing Protection



AMIT 129: Lesson 6 Conveyor System


Conveyors  are common around surface mine yards and plants. They are an efficient way to move material, but can be very dangerous to those working around them. You may be asked to work around them: to clean up spillages, for example, or to perform routine maintenance on them. Mines have established procedures for working around belts.


Upon completion of this lesson students will be able to:

  • Explain the conveyor system.
  • Define conveyor Start and Stop, Lock Out and Tag Out (LO/TO).
  • Explain conveyor tags.
  • Demonstrate how pull cords work.

Reading & Lecture

Conveyor Belts Safety

Following these safety rules will help keep you safe. Carelessness or lack of attention can result in your being pulled into the rollers or other moving parts, causing injury or death. Some common-sense safety practices are as follows:

  1. Tuck in loose clothing, or avoid wearing anything that is baggy enough to get caught by moving belts and rollers.
  2. Remove loose jewelry. Your mine may not allow jewelry at all, including necklaces, rings, or bracelets. Check with your safety training to see what the policy is.
  3. Do not remove guards from conveyor unless it is necessary to do the task assigned. Turn off the conveyor if possible, until your job is completed. Be sure to lock it out and tag it out. Replace guards immediately upon finishing and before restarting the conveyor.
  4. Be extremely cautious around rollers… you can get sucked in, and you will never win the battle against that equipment.

Conveyor belt shut off, lock out and tag out (LO/TO)

If you are asked to do maintenance on a conveyor, be sure it is turned off, locked out and tagged out. Notify everyone that you are turning off the conveyor, and be sure to check that it doesn’t have two sources of power. It is never a good idea to ride on a moving conveyor, so stay off of these pieces of equipment when they are running.

Before starting your task, make sure the conveyor is:

  • shut off (verify shut-off by checking the power meter)
  • locked out (keep the key to the lock in your pocket, always with you)
  • tagged out (put your name and the date on the tag and do not give your key to anyone else)

Be sure to:

  • never ask someone else to remove your lock, and do not take anyone else’s lock off of a power source – you could be killed if the equipment you are working on starts unexpectedly; and
  • know what the lock out/tag out devices are and where they are stored on your mine’s property.

After you have completed the lock out/tag out procedure, verify the power is off by pushing the start button. This will alert you if there is more than one power source to the conveyor.

Conveyors usually have “kill buttons” or “pull cords” on them to allow you to shut the power off immediately. You need to know where these are on every piece of equipment you are asked to work around so that in case of an emergency, you can shut down the conveyor. These devices are not a substitute for a LO/TO, however.

Diagram of an Austdac Pullkey ESS3 system
Diagram of an Austdac Pullkey ESS3 system

You may be asked to do maintenance on the upper end of the conveyor.

Make sure the anti-reversing mechanism on the head pulley is engaged to prevent the belt from rolling backward as you move up the conveyor. When working off the ground, at the top of the conveyor belt, for example, you must wear an approved fall protection harness. This is a belt with a lanyard that attaches you to the structure you are working on.

Your fall protection harness may have a self-retracting lanyard, or may have a fixed length lanyard. Either way, it does you no good if it isn’t attached to something that will hold your weight if you fall. Your safety trainer will provide additional training on the use of fall protection.

It is up to you to know when you should wear it, how to put it on properly, and how to check it for wear.

A photo of an inadequate pulley guard.


The picture above shows an inadequate conveyor tail pulley guard. The rear and top of the pulley are fully exposed providing access to moving machine parts.

The guard in the picture below covers the pinch point and the moving parts of the tail pulley. If properly maintained, this design can prove effective in preventing contact during work-related activities.

A diagram showing an effective pulley guard
[Conveyor image with enclosed pulley guard case]
An image showing the guard surrounding a tail pulley
[Elevated tail pulley image]

The figure above shows an elevated tail pulley. Because the underside of the pulley is accessible, it needs to be guarded. The guard may have openings large enough to allow fines to fall through, but not large enough to allow a miner to reach the moving machine parts.

Visible Signs of Bad Conveyor

  • Cut and or worn return idler brackets
  • Spillage in the load zone
  • Edge damage to the conveyor belt (See examples)
  • Hot marks on the sides of the head chute where the belt has been riding
  • Belt running off at the counter weight and tail pulleys


Conveyor Pogo Mine

Advantage of Keeping Your Conveyor Belts Clean

  • Increase your production
  • Eliminate downtime
  • Greatly reduce damage to conveyor belt edges & structures
  • Improve life of conveyor belt and conveyor components
  • Reduce spillage
  • Improve SAFETY



A covered conveyor
Image attribution: Brian M. Powell. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license


AMIT 129: Lesson 4 Clean Housekeeping


Upon completing this lesson students should be able to:

  • Differentiate between the types of dust and their effects.
  • Give examples of dust control.
  • Identify toxic materials.
  • Explain housekeeping.
  • Explain spillage.

Reading & Lecture

Types of airborne particles and their effects on health

Respirable and non-respirable dust

  • Non-respirable dust is less dangerous; larger particles are filtered out by the nose and throat
  • Respirable dust is more dangerous; particles are invisible to the eye

Nuisance respirable dust

  • Little effect on lungs
  • Any reaction is potentially reversible

Respirable Dust:

  • Fibrogenic dusts (harmful to respiratory system): silica (quartz),  silicates (asbestos, mica), tin ore, coal, some iron ore
  • Toxic dusts (poisonous): arsenic, lead, mercury, antimony,  manganese, tungsten
  • Explosive dusts (combustible when airborne): coal, metallic dusts (aluminum, zinc, tin …)
  • Nuisance dust (little adverse effect): gypsum, kaolin, limestone

Fibrogenic respirable dust (e.g., asbestos, quartz)

  • Small particles enter lower lungs. Accumulations of particles cause scar tissue to be formed. Scar tissue interferes with transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide through the lungs.
  • Silicosis is lung fibrosis caused by prolonged inhalation of silica dust.
  • Pneumoconiosis is a generic term describing several types of respiratory ailments, one of which is coal workers’ pneumoconiosis.
    • Major pneumoconiosis – lung disorder developed over a prolonged time causing disabling symptoms, is irreversible, and shortens life expectancy. Includes silica dioxide dusts, such as asbestos, quartz, and coal.
    • Minor pneumoconiosis – dust causes little or no inflammation and no major fibrosis, but can cause mechanical irritation of the lungs. Includes micas, clays, feldspars, and anthracite.
    • Benign pneumoconiosis – similar to minor pneumoconiosis. Includes calcium from limestone, marble, or-cement; graphite; titanium dioxide; stannic dioxide; ferric oxide; and barium sulfate or oxide.


Radon and Thoron daughters: are found in uranium and thorium ores. Daughters attach to dust particles and are inhaled into the lungs.

  • Excessive exposure to radon and thoron daughters can cause lung cancer.
  • Exposure measured in a unit known as the Working Level Month (WLM). Relevant formulas are:
    Exposure = radiation level x time
    Given that: radiation level is the working level, time is in months,
    Then: exposure is working level months,
    Or: Working Level Months = Working Level X Months

    • Formulas indicate miners should not spend prolonged time in excessively contaminated areas. Low levels of radiation are safe work areas.
    • The law states that no miner can be exposed to more than 4 WLM in any one year.
  • Smoking increases the risk of radiation causing lung cancer by a factor of ten.

Gamma and X-ray exposures

  • Not considered dangerous in most uranium mines.
  • Use film badges to measure exposure around high grade uranium ore.

Dust Control


  • avoidance by modifying operations
  • reduction of dusts with proper maintenance
North 7700 Series Half Mask Air-Purifying Respirator. Source, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health
North 7700 Series Half Mask Air-Purifying Respirator


  • cleanup of workings
  • respirators that filter dusts


  • water spray
  • foam spray
  • rock dusting to suppress combustible dust


  • main ventilation system
  • auxiliary ventilation system

The Most Common Dust Control Methods

Method of measurement for airborne particles

  • Respirators that filter dusts
  • Ventilation dilutes the concentration of dusts
  • Water sprays suppress dusts

Method of measurement for airborne particles

  1. Respirable dusts
    1. Gravimetric sampling
    2. Time schedule for sampling
  2. Radon thoron daughters
    • Air sampling
    • Counting equipment
    • Time schedule for sampling
  3. Gamma radiation
    • Scintillation counts
    • Time schedule for sampling

Threshold limit values

  1. Part 57.5-1b states  that miners shall not be exposed to asbestos dust exceeding 10 fibers longer than 5 micrometers per milliliter of air
  2. Part 57.5-16 states that silica sand shall not be used as an abrasive substance in abrasive blasting cleaning operation.
  3. Part 57.5-38 and 39 state that the maximum exposure to radon daughters in any calendar year is 4 WLM, and 1.0 WL in active workings.
  4. Part 57.5-47c states that annual individual gamma radiation expo-sure shall not exceed 5 rems.
[Gravimetric Dust sampler diagram]

Hazards from Toxic Materials

  • Types of toxic, caustic or noxious substances used in the mine.
  • Procedures for handling toxic, caustic or noxious substances.

Health Provisions Contained in the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (CFR 30 Part 55 or 56):

  • Regulations prescribe health and safety standards for the purpose of protecting life, promoting health and safety, and preventing accidents.
  • Violations of these regulations may be cited by MSHA inspectors.


Importance of Clean-up and Good Housekeeping

  1. Reduces the number of unsafe conditions which contribute to accidents. Oily rags, empty or uncovered grease and oil containers, tangled hoses, and discarded trash are examples of such hazards.
  2.  A messy workplace slows down work. If tools are laying about unorganized, more time is required to find them.
  3. Cleaning-up during work is a good fire prevention technique. Areas around fuel and explosive supplies should be kept free of any flammable materials and trash.

Applicable Federal Regulation

  1. Maintenance of clean work places.
    • The law states that workplaces, passageways, storerooms, and service rooms must be kept clean and orderly, and water drainage must be provided where practicable (Part 57.20-3)
    • The law states that any health and safety hazard that is not immediately obvious must be labeled with a warning sign. This sign must “be readily visibly, legible, display the nature of the hazard, and any protective action required” (Part 57.20-11).
  2. Disposal of toxic materials.
    • The law states that flammable and combustible wastes should not accumulate and become a fire hazard. (Part 57.4-50).
    • The law states that potentially dangerous gases should be tested, and control measures taken as appropriate. (Part 57.20-9).
    • The law states that toxic materials should be clearly labeled and safe handling procedures identified. (Part 57.30-12).

Housekeeping Procedures

  1. Organize your work ahead of time so you have all the equipment you need where you need it. Make cleaning-up part of your work.
  2. Clean up spills whenever and wherever they occur.
  3. After you are finished with equipment and no longer plan on using it for awhile, put it away such as in a supply room or other designated area. Park vehicles properly. Keep oily rags in closed containers and remove them from the mine daily.
  4. When handling tools, supplies, or equipment, use caution in how you handle them. Avoid hurting yourself, others, or the equipment itself. If a piece of equipment or a tool is broken, get it fixed or serviced rather than leaving it and letting another miner discover its condition when it may be for an emergency. The next time the tool could be needed in an emergency you could be the victim.

Benefits of Good Housekeeping

  • Eliminates accident and fire hazards
  • Maintains safe, healthy work conditions
  • Saves time, money, materials, space and effort
  • Improves productivity and quality
  • Boosts morale
  • Reflects a well-run organization

Good Housekeeping Habits

  • Make time for housekeeping
  • Evaluate your workspace
  • Remove hazards before starting work
  • Turn equipment off after using it
  • Clean up as you go
  • Never ignore a safety hazard

Spillage Hazards

  1. Rock spillage is found to varying degrees at a number of locations.
    • Draw points
    • Ore passes
    • Grizzly or crusher
    • Haulageways
    • At transfer points from ore pass or muck car to haulage truck or ore car.
    • Along belt lines and their transfer points.
  2. Hazards associated with rock spillage.
    • Rock spillage poses safety hazards to miners and equipment. Miners can trip over rocks which is a leading cause of accidents and equipment has less room to operate and maneuver when crowded by spillage. Uneven floors caused by spillage is a major contributing cause of haulage accidents.
    • Substantial rock spillage increases resistance to ventilation. Spillage cuts down the volume of air passing by.
  3. Rock spillage should be cleaned-up wherever it poses a health and safety hazard. Depending on the size of   the spillage, either shovels or loaders should be used in clean-up.


AMIT 129: Lesson 5 Hazard Recognition


Upon completion of this lesson students will be able to:

  • Analyze accidents and contributing factors.
  • Identify causes of accidents.
  • Explain Miner’s responsibility.
  • Demonstrate proper handling of accidents.

Reading & Lecture

Analysis of Accidents and Contributing Factors

Definition of an Accident:

  1. Any unplanned and unanticipated event that results in personal injury and/or in property damage.
  2. An analysis of accidents must consider a number of contributing factors, which must at least include the accident type (falls, being struck by object), energy source (electricity, machinery), unsafe acts or conditions, nature of the injury, and the affected part or parts of the body.

Causes of Accidents

Basic causes of accidents may be one or more elements in the following lists.

  1. Management safety policy and decisions
    • Production and safety goals
    • Communications
    • Inspection procedures
    • Maintenance
    • Housekeeping
  2. Environmental factors
    • Weather
    • Dusts, gases and vapors
    • Noise
    • Illumination
  3. Personal factors
    • Safety motivation and awareness
    • Knowledge and training
    • Physical and mental state
    • Reaction time


Indirect Causes

Review this video introduction to unsafe acts and preventative safety methods.

Unsafe acts

  1. Operating equipment at excessive speeds
  2. Operating equipment without authorization or training
  3. Using equipment or tools improperly
  4. Using defective equipment
  5. Removing or damaging safety devices on equipment
  6. Not using personal protective equipment when appropriate
  7. Not warning others of hazardous conditions
  8. Failure to secure equipment and block tires
  9. Improper lifting, loading, or placement of equipment, tools, or supplies
  10. Servicing equipment in motion
  11. Horseplay
  12. Use of alcohol or drugs

Unsafe Conditions

  1. Sliding or falling material at bins, hoppers, and dump points
  2. Pressure lines and vessels
  3. Inadequate supports or guards
  4. Poor housekeeping
  5. Poor illumination
  6. Hazardous highwalls, spoil banks, and water pools
  7. Fire and explosion hazards
  8. Defective tools, equipment, or supplies
  9. Congestion of work place
  10. Inadequate warning systems
  11. Excessive noise
  12. Slippery or rough haulage and walkways
Highwall collapse on heavy equipment.
From the Department of Labor website, “On Wednesday, December 7, 2011, at approximately 7:30 a.m., a 49-year-old excavator operator, with 20 years of mining experience, was fatally injured when a highwall he was working near collapsed. The excavator was being used to load rock trucks. The operator’s cab was positioned on the highwall side when the accident occurred.”
An accident involving blind spots and heavy equipment
An accident at the Anglo Coal Mine, caused by a blind spot while operating heavy equipment.
The results of a falling material accident
From the Department of Labor website, “On August 3, 2015, a 64-year old miner with 44 weeks experience was killed at a sand and gravel mine. The victim was operating a front-end loader, loading trucks from a stockpile, when he exited the loader. While outside the loader, the approximate 35-foot high stockpile slope failed and engulfed the victim between the stockpile and the loader.”

Direct Causes

  1. Unplanned release of energy and/or hazardous material such as falls of rock or materials, failing brakes, or removal of air hose without bleeding the line

Distinction between health and safety concerns in the mine

  1. Health refers to proper functioning of the body
    • Health is affected by substance which interfere with normal functioning.
    • Health problems, while slow in occurring, may be permanently disabling
  2. Safety refers to avoiding accidents by following safe work procedures and recognizing and correcting unsafe conditions.

Miner’s responsibility

  1. Reporting hazards
  2. Tagging unsafe equipment
  3. Eliminating known hazards
  4. Warning others
  5. Avoiding areas of hazards

Common Types of Accidents

Most Common Types of Accidents in Metal/Nonmetal Underground Mines

Handling materials is a common activity related to accidents (lifting, puffing, pushing or shoveling packaged or loose material).

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Frequency of Occurrence

Of all accidents reported in 1979 for underground mines, 31% occurred during handling of materials.

Accident Characteristics

Of all accidents in underground mines involving materials handling, 62% resulted in lost work days for non-fatally injured miners. The average severity of these accidents was lost time ranging from 12 to 164 days.

Most frequent parts of body injured in accidents

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Most frequent nature of injury

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These accidents may often be avoided by using correct procedures for handing materials.

  • Use proper lifting, lifting with the legs rather than the back.
  • Wear gloves.
  • Do not allow your vision to be obscured by the load and be careful when passing through entrances.
  • Do not attempt to carry a load which is too heavy, and coordinate your moves with those assisting you.
  • Be careful of sharp edges or protruding sides of the materials you are carrying.
  • When setting materials down, make sure you have sufficient clearance from your toes.

Accidents Caused By Powered Haulage Activities

Powered haulage activities are another source of accidents (conveyors, front-end loaders, haulage trucks, locomotives and railroad cars, and personnel conveyances).

Frequency of occurrence

Of all accidents reported in 1979 for underground mines, 8% occurred around powered haulage.

Accident characteristics

Of all accidents in underground mines involving powered haulage, 74% resulted in lost work days for non-fatally injured miners. The average severity of these accidents was lost time ranging from 30-210 days.

Most frequent parts of body injured in accidents

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Most frequent nature of injury

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Some of the sorts of haulage accidents which occur are as follows:

  • Collisions with other vehicles or stationary objects
  • Being struck, run over by or squeezed between vehicles
  • Striking arms, legs, or other body parts against protruding objects while     riding in mine transportation
  • Slipping or falling while mounting vehicle

Haulage accidents may be reduced by using the rules as follows:

  1. Never exceed the vehicle’s capabilities for speed, stop-ping, and turning.
  2. When on foot watch out for all vehicles and let operators know you are near.
  3. Never get on or off of moving vehicles of any kind.
  4. Keep limbs and head within the riding area.
  5. Make frequent inspections of vehicle’s brakes, lights, steering, and other devices related to safety.
  6. Don’t work on moving conveyor belts or attempt to cross or mount them.
  7. Don’t wear loose clothing or long hair around moving conveyor belts or machinery which has exposed moving parts.
  8. When shoveling onto a moving belt, always shovel in the direct the belt is moving.

Accidents Caused By Use of Machinery

Another major source of accidents is the use of machinery (drills, slushers, power shovels, and compressors).

Frequency of occurrence

Of all accidents reported in 1979 for underground mines, 17% occurred around machinery.

Accident characteristics

Of all accidents in underground mines involving machinery, 64% resulted in lost work days for non-fatally injured miners. The average severity of these accidents was lost time ranging from 18 to 194 days.

Most frequent parts of body injured in accidents

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Most frequent nature of injury

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The sorts of accidents which occur are as follows:

  • Being caught between a machine and the highwall during a slide.
  • Being struck by a moving boom or bucket or blade
  • Being struck or crushed by falling or overturning equipment.
  • Being struck by flying objects.

Many accidents of this nature can be avoided by following safe work procedures.

  • When working near equipment in operation, be sure the operator knows you are there.
  • Avoid the area included in the circle of movement of booms and loaders. Never walk under raised equipment.
  • Never leave equipment unattended in raised position.
  • Be sure equipment is securely blocked before attempting any repair or maintenance with it in raised position.
  • Never attempt to defeat or override the safety devices built into equipment.

Injuries form Slips and Falls

Another source of accidents is slips and falls (while getting on or off machinery and haulage equipment which is not moving, and while servicing or repairing equipment or machinery).

Frequency of occurrence

Of all accidents in 1979 for underground mines, 13% resulted from slips and falls.

Accident characteristics

Of all accidents in underground mines resulting from slips and falls, 73% resulted in lost work days for non-fatally injured miners. The average severity of these accidents was lost time ranging from 21 to 210 days.

Most frequent parts of body injured in accidents

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Most frequent nature of injury

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Some rules which will prevent slips and falls are as follows:

  1. Wear proper footwear.
  2. Always watch where you are going. Don’t allow material being carried to block your visibility.
  3. Use both hands when climbing up or down a ladder. Never jump from rung to rung or try to slide down the ladder.
  4. Clean up any spills that might cause someone to slip.
  5. Never lean over equipment without stable footing.
  6. Use a safety belt to catch any fall from a high place, or when working in a hole or trench.

Injuries From Use of Hand Tools

An additional major source of accidents is the use of hand tools (non-power assisted tools)

Frequency of occurrence

Of all accidents in 1979 for underground mines, 11% resulted from use of hand tools.

Accident characteristics

Of all accidents in underground mines resulting from use of hand tools, 45% resulted in lost work days for non-fatally injured miners. The average severity of these accidents was lost time ranging from 11 to 125 days.

Most frequent parts of body injured in accidents

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Most frequent nature of injury

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The following are procedures which will help in avoiding these accidents.

  • Use the right tool for the job.
  • Keep tools in their place when they are not being used. Don’t leave them around as hazards to safety.
  • Be sure you have clearance from other workers and machinery when using hammers and sledges.
  • Always wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying material.
  • Follow recommended safety procedures in the use of special tools and equipment.

Injuries From Falls to Back or Sides

The final major source of accidents is falls of the back or sides. This includes falls while barring down or placing props, as well as pressure bumps and bursts. This does not include accidents due to equipment gouging the rock.

Frequency of occurrence

Of all accidents in 1979 for underground mines, 10% resulted from falls of the back or sides.

Accident characteristics

Of all accidents in underground mines resulting from falls of the back or sides, 65% resulted in lost work days for non-fatally injured miners. The average severity of these accidents was lost time ranging from 12 to 600 days.

Most frequent parts of body injured in accidents

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Most frequent nature of injury

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These accidents may often be avoided by observing some of the following safety rules.

  • While barring down always follow safe procedures and keep a path for escape open. When scaling, always wear safety glasses and work under supported roof.
  • If you suspect weak rock, report it to supervision.
  • Test the rock periodically with a hammer to assess its soundness.
  • Never violate the mine’s roof control plan.
  • Look for stress cracks or rocks protruding from the back or sides.
  • Look for formerly dry areas that suddenly become wet.
  • Look for the falling of small chips that might signal larger falls.
  • Look for rock bolts showing signs of stress.
  • Never assume someone else has made tests in the area.


AMIT 129: Lesson 3 Mine Entering


Upon completing this lesson students will be able to:

  • Explain the Check-in and Check–out system
  • Explain the basic concepts of mine transportation
  • Explain the basic concepts of mine communication


Check-in and Check-out Procedures

The check-in and check-out system is used to keep a current record of all mine personnel and visitors present in the mine. This information is essential during a mine emergency. By law, this record is kept on the surface in a place safe from fire or other hazard.

  1. In the event of an emergency, this system aids mine rescue in identifying and locating any miner who fails to return and check-out. Management can determine where the miner was working and thereby focus mine rescue efforts.
  2. By checking-out of the mine when leaving, mine rescue teams will not waste time and risk their lives looking for someone who is not in the mine at all.
  3. The system is also used to locate a miner in case of a personal emergency i.e. a sick or injured family member etc.

The check-in and check-out procedure uses an identification tag called brass. Brass has your name or some other identification number stamped on it. A second brass may also be permanently attached to your lamp belt.

The company policy is that all miners follow check-in procedures when entering the mine. Place your brass on a hook at the station. When leaving the mine check-out by removing your brass from the hook. Keep brass for the next work day.

Mine Transportation Systems

Man trips are rubber-tired or track vehicles or shaft cages designed to transport miners between the working areas of a mine and the dry room or bath house used to change clothes and clean-up.
  1. Man trips are designed to carry a certain number of miners. Attempting to crowd more miners on a man trip than it is designed for is a safety hazard and should be avoided.
  2. When boarding the man trips other than cages, both hands should be emptied of tools and lunch pail. You need your hands to assist getting into the man trip. Place your tools and lunch pail in the man trip before boarding.
  3. Once in the man trip and underway, keep your head, arms and legs inside. You could accidentally hit the side or piece of equipment when leaning out. Also make sure that any equipment or tools such as picks, shovels or slate bars do not stick out of the car or cage.
Material trips are used for both ore and mining equipment.
  1. Haulage of ore is done by rubber tired or track vehicles. Young buggies, ore cars, or muck cars are used to transport the ore from the drifts and stapes to belt lines and/or to the ore skip which hauls ore up the shaft to the mill.
  2. Equipment trips are used to bring various supplies into the mine. These supplies include mining machinery, fuel and explosives.
  3. Hazards involved in transportation system.
    1. Objects protruding from the sides or the back, such as rock, timber, or pipes.
    2. Falling out of or off moving equipment due to recklessness, bumps, quick stops or horseplay.
    3. Injury to head, arms, hand or legs, that are hanging out of the trip and hit a rib or other object.
    4. Flying objects, such as lunch pails, tools, or rock, when the trip stops suddenly, derails, or is involved in a collision.
    5. Body parts hanging out of trip and making contact with an electrical power source.
    6. Collision of trip due to excessive speed and subsequent loss of control or brake failure.
    7. Collision of trip with other vehicle or striking person due to poor visibility or inattention.
    8. Injury to eyes or lungs from dust or small particles.
    9. Materials on the cage not being secured correctly.
Heavy Equipment Accidents


  • Signs need to be posted wherever it’s necessary to regulate, warn, direct, or inform traffic on haul roads or around surface installations. Signs can be permanent or portable to meet the changing conditions at the mine. Remember, overcrowding of signs at one location may cause confusion and lead to accidents.
  • Signs need to be positioned with respect to each situation. Management must take into account, the time it takes for a driver to see and read a sign and the mechanical braking and stopping distances of vehicles in operation at each site.
  • Signs must be visible at all times. Size, height and lateral placement are important factors in determining whether signs will be illuminated by headlights.

Stop Signs

Stop signs should be located as close to the point at which the vehicle must stop.

Use “stop ahead’ signs to warn drivers where there is limited sight distances. All way stop or 4-Way stop signs should be placed at intersections that require all vehicles to stop.

A stop sign
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Yield Sign

Yield signs need to located as close as possible to the point where vehicles are supposed to yield. Yield signs assign right-of-way where secondary roads intersect main roads or where two roads intersect and stopping is not required.

Yield Sign
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Speed Limit Signs

Speed signs are based upon factors such as road conditions, grades, visibility, curves, and mechanical capability of the equipment in use at each mine operation. Drivers should always obey posted speed signs.

A speed limit sign
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Do Not Pass Signs

No passing signs are usually placed at the beginning and end of a restricted area where passing other vehicles are not allowed. A “pass with care” sign indicates the end of a no passing zone.

Do Not Pass
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Do Not Enter Signs

A Do Not Enter sign is placed at the end of a one way road to keep traffic from entering the roadway while traveling in the wrong direction. “WRONG WAY” signs supplement Do Not Enter signs

Do Not Enter sign
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Important Sign

Mine management should limit customer and over-the-road drivers’ access to hazards while heavy equipment is being used to load trucks.

An Important [message] Sign
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Steep Grade Sign

These signs provide drivers with advanced warning of steep downgrades where special caution is needed to be exercised. Post the grade and length of grade and any special precautions.

A Steep Grade Sign
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People Working Signs

These signs are usually posted on roadways where work is being done. Mine operators should posted these signs in all areas where trucks  may come in contact with workers.

People Working sign
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Falling Rock Zone Signs

These signs warn drivers to watch out for falling rocks and other materials while they are driving through an area. Restricted access may be required based upon the hazard

Falling Rock Sign
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Danger: Explosives Signs

These signs should be used in areas where explosives are in use. They can be used to deny access to a blast are or used as a placard on vehicles carrying explosives.

Danger Explosives
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Authorized Personnel Only Signs

These signs are posted to limit personnel from entering hazardous or restricted areas. Drivers should not enter these areas either while driving or when they leave the vehicle.

An authorized-personnel sign
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Danger: Open Flame Signs

These signs warn all personnel to the hazardous conditions that may exist in an area or where flammable and combustible materials are in use or stored

Danger: Open Flame Sign
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Danger: High Voltage Sign

A high voltage sign warns all personnel of electrical hazards. Drivers should look for signs that warn about “overhead lines” so they may avoid a common hazard in mining.

A Danger: High Voltage Sign
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Warning Signs

  • Help to control traffic flow
  • Warn personnel on-foot of truck traffic
  • Establish safety zones where hazards exist
  • Remind all employees to be safe
  • Limit visitors from entering the unfamiliar
  • Prevent accidents and injuries

Mine Communication System

Mine communications are important for routine messages. Requests for supplies or assistance with operational problems save time when done over an efficient communications system. In the case of accident or other emergency, people in the mine must be able to tell people on the surface what happened so that proper measures can be taken quickly.

  1. The law requires that two-way communication systems be provided at several locations in the mine. These include all levels of the main shaft and slopes, and between the surface and each working section. Phone systems are commonly used to provide two-way communications.
  2. Communications with the hoistman is done by pull bottles located at each level of the shaft.

Equipment signals are signals mounted on equipment to warn the operator or others of some particular condition of the vehicle.

  1. Backing-up signals warn others that the vehicle is in reverse gear and that they should immediately move out of its way.
  2. A bell may sound when a motor starts up.
  3. Equipment status signals inform the operator of critical status levels of various components of the equipment, such as low oil or hydraulic pressure.

Mine emergency warning signals alert miners to immediately initiate mine evacuation procedures.

  1. Warning signals inform miners of the emergency, and can be of two types.
    • Stench canisters containing a smell of rotten eggs.
    • Alarms located throughout the mine.
    • Flashes
  2. Another important emergency signal is the escapeway marking signs located throughout the mine. Their directional information guides miners through the escapeways system.


AMIT 129: Surface Mine Safety

Welcome to AMIT 129. This course includes the rights of miners, an introduction to the work environment, ground control, hazard  recognition, first aid and explosive safety. This course fulfills the Mine Safety Health  Administration requirements for surface miner training. Students are awarded MSHA  certificate upon completion of the class. (1+0)

Course Information

Credits: 1

Prerequisites: None

Instructional Goals

  1. Identify the role of a mill operator technician/miner in safety.
  2. Explain the terminology utilized by mill operator technicians with mining safety systems.
  3. Explain safety issues related to mine transportation.
  4. Explain safety issues related to fires and firefighting.
  5. Explain and demonstrate Hazard Recognition as applied by MSHA.
  6. Explain safety issues related to mine explosives and blasting.
  7. Describe the safety concerns and safety systems applied to conveyor system
  8. Explain safety issues related to Health
  9. Explain safety issues related to mine electrical hazards.
  10. Explain safety issues related to chemical hazards.

Student Outcomes

Student Outcomes
Upon successful completion of the course, the student will be able to do the following:
Assessment Procedures
This outcome will be assessed by one or more of the following:
Students demonstrate an understanding of safety as applied to working in a mill facility/minePerformance answering identified mine safety test questions
Students demonstrate proper safety practices around open pit mine siteObserved performance demonstrating proper (general) safety practices required
Students demonstrate knowledge of mine transportation systemPerformance answering identified mine transportation systems test questions

Observed performance identifying hazards of transportation
Students demonstrate knowledge of dust control,
Performance answering identified types of dust test questions

Observed performance identifying causes of dusts
Students demonstrate knowledge of conveyor systemPerformance answering identified conveyor test questions

Observed performance identifying conveyor parts
Students demonstrate knowledge of mine blastingPerformance answering identified explosives test questions

Observed performance identifying blasting procedures
Students demonstrate knowledge of crushing equipmentPerformance answering identified crushing equipment hazard test questions

Observed performance identifying crushers
Students demonstrate knowledge of ground control typesPerformance answering identified methods in ground control test questions

Observed performance identifying ground failures

Course Outline

  1. Mine intro
    1. Mine terminology
    2. Mining methods
    3. Mining equipment and their function
    4. Ground Control
    5. Mining Hazards
  2. Open pit mine
    1. Open pit mining terminology
    2. Size of open pits
    3. Importance of proper design
    4. Personal Protective Equipment
    5. Employee responsibilities
    6. Types of PPE
  3. Mine Entering
    1. Check-in and Check-out procedures
    2. Safety in Mine transportation system
    3. Signs
    4. Mine communication system
  4. Health, Clean up and Housekeeping
    1. Airborne particles and their effects
    2. Dust Control
    3. Hazards from toxic materials
    4. Housekeeping procedures
    5. Spillage hazards
  5. Hazard Recognition
    1. Mining hazard and accident prevention
    2. Analysis of accidents and contributing factors
    3. Causes of accidents
  6. Conveyor system
    1. Conveyor
    2. Conveyor lock out and tag out system
    3. Conveyor pull cords
    4. Visible signs of bad conveyor
  7. Mine explosives
    1. Hazards in use of explosives
    2. Safe work procedures with explosives
  8. Mine maps, Emergency Evacuation
    1. Mine map
    2. Causes of mine emergencies
    3. Mine emergency warning system
    4. Escapeways and emergency evacuation
  9. Mine Fires and Fire Fighting
    1. Types of fires
    2. Firefighting equipment and methods
  10. Mine Ground Control
    1. Causes of ground failure
    2. Types of ground failure
    3. Methods in Ground Control
    4. Responsibilities for back and ground control
  11. Mine Electrical Hazards
    1. Electrical circuit
    2. Effects of electricity on humans
    3. Factors contributing to electrical accidents
    4. Rescue Techniques
    5. Lock-out and Tag-out procedures
  12. Crusher and mill operations safety
    1. Crusher blockage
    2. Crusher and mill maintenance
    3. General hazards
  13. Chemical hazards
    1. Health hazards
    2. Material Safety Data Sheet
    3. Label color
  14. General hazards
    1. Noise
    2. Vibration

Suggested Text

Wills’ Mineral Processing Technology, 8th edition
B.A Wills, James Finch PhD, Butterworth-Heinemann publisher, 2015


DACUM Research Chart for Mill Operator
Produced for Teck Alaska Inc. Red Dog Mine – June 2015
Prepared by John P. Hakala
Apprenticeship USA United States Department of Labor