The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has reminded producers that mining in hot work areas during the summer can cause serious health issues for miners.
Everyone needs to recognize the hazards of heat stress and mine operators should provide heat-stress recognition training, monitoring and personal protective equipment.
Symptoms of heat stress, the agency said, include: hot, usually dry, red or spotted skin; body temperature over 105˚ F; confusion; a pale or flushed face; and muscle cramps from loss of sodium.
Heat stress prevention techniques include:
• Provide cool drinking water near miners;
• Encourage miners to drink a cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes;
• Avoid drinks with caffeine and large amounts of sugar;
• Use sunblockers, proper protective clothing and shade;
• Use administrative controls to rotate miners on hot jobs; and
• Schedule heavy tasks during cooler times of the day.
When treating symptoms, MSHA stressed that those offering aid DO:
• Remove the miner from the hot area.
• Apply cool wet cloths.
• Give water if the miner is awake.
• Seek medical attention if there is no improvement.
However, they should NOT apply ice directly to the skin; allow the miner to become so cold that shivering develops; or leave the miner alone.