The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issued a heat stress health alert for mine operators to pay special attention to miners working in high temperatures during the summer.
Mining in hot work areas during summer can cause serious health issues for miners, according to the health alert.
Everyone needs to recognize the hazards of heat stress and mine operators should provide heat-stress recognition training, monitoring, and PPE.
Symptoms of heat stress include:
- hot skin that’s typically dry, red or spotted
- a body temperature that’s more than 105 degrees Fahrenheit
- a pale or flushed face, and
- muscle cramps from loss of sodium.
When treating symptoms, be sure to:
- remove the miner from the hot area
- apply cool wet cloths
- give water if the miner is awake, and
- seek medical attention if there is no improvement.
However, when treating symptoms do not:
- apply ice directly to the skin
- allow the miner to become so cold that shivering develops, or
- leave the miner alone.
To prevent heat stress, mine operators should:
- provide cool drinking water near miners
- encourage miners to drink a cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes
- remind miners to avoid drinks with caffeine and large amounts of sugar
- remind miners who are working outdoors during the day to use proper protective clothing, sunblock and shade
- use administrative controls to rotate miners on hot jobs, and
- schedule heavy tasks during cooler times of the day.