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Work in a Quarry? Avoid These 8 Giant Health Risks
Posted by David Cant on December 16, 2014

Work in a Quarry? Avoid These 8 Giant Health Risks

Health and Safety in QuarryAs if dealing with one or two health and safety risks wasn’t enough, quarries get dealt the full pack.

These are the eight most common causes of work-related injuries or ill health – and are the ones you really need to look out for:

1. Musculoskeletal injuries

When it comes to quarries, manual lifting is the biggest culprit behind this one. By law, there is no maximum weight limit. So it’s down to employers to use a little common sense and wisdom.

It’s not just about weight. Think about the strength and fitness of the individual doing the carrying. As well as where it’s going, how far, and whether there are any aids to help.

2. Falling from heights

Like it or not, working from heights is always going to come with risks. You should only do it when it’s really necessary – and practical.

Before you head up though, take some essential safety precautions. Like checking and maintaining all equipment, and avoiding overloading or overreaching. Got it?

3. Vehicle accidents

Quarries are difficult terrains at the best of times – throw in a heavy goods vehicle or a lift truck and things can potentially get a lot more difficult.

Check the rules for edge protection on roads. Benches and haul roads should also be well designed and properly maintained so that vehicles can use them safely.

4. Slips and trips

Uneven surfaces are par for the course in a quarry environment. But they’re also a common factor behind trips, along with poor site design and maintenance.

Use handrails where available. Make sure there is always adequate lighting to spot any obstruction. And try to keep walkways clear at all times.

5. Hand-arm vibration

Using hand-held power tools over a sustained period can result in a lot of long-term health damage, causing damage to the nerves and joints, as well as affecting your ability to do fine work.

Finding alternative methods to reduce how much you need to use hand-held tools is a great way to cut down the risk. So have a good hard think about it!

6. Respiratory diseases

Wheezing, coughing, or even the odd moment of feeling a bit short of breath should never be overlooked. These might not seem life-threatening, but they do indicate potentially serious respiratory problems.

Breathing in all kinds of dusts, vapours and fumes in a quarry environment is one of the biggest causes for this.

Got any symptoms? Go see the doc!

7. Noise damage

If you’re exposed to continuous loud noise and intrusive noises from anything like power tools to demolition and explosions, chances are: your hearing may be affected.

Use hearing protection at all times, and if you spot a problem with your protective or noise controlling equipment, you should report it right away.

8. Silica exposure

Anybody working in construction knows that exposure to silica is a big red health and safety flag. And quarries are one of the highest risk areas.

Wear disposable or washable protective clothing – and don’t blow dust to remove it. You should always vacuum or wash it off before changing into clean clothes.

Your takeaway points

–       Be smart and careful when it comes to manual lifting

–       Don’t overload or overreach when you’re working up high

–       Keep walkways clear and use handrails to avoid slips and trips

–       Hand-held tools cause long-term damage. Avoid them when possible.

–       Short of breath? Go get checked out!

–       Use hearing protection at all times

–       Wear protective clothing to defend against deadly silica

Work on a quarry? What other risks do you think should be added to the list?

Let us know your thoughts!


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: Construction Health and Safety, Health and Safety Consultancy, Health and Safety Regulations, Health and Safety Services

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