Sand Plant Safety: 7 Tips to Reduce Accidents

Safety in mining has improved dramatically, but in 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics still found that sand, gravel, clay, and ceramic mining and quarrying had an incident rate of 1.9. It’s not as high as other industries, like construction. But there are still avoidable incidents and injuries happening on worksites. 

When everyone works together, it’s possible to prevent 10,200 nonfatal work injuries and illnesses in the sector. 

Are you working to create a safer working environment for everyone? Keep reading for a list of tips to help prevent incidents at sand plants. 

Switch to Leading Indicators to Control Incidents 

The mining industry spends a lot of time worrying about incident rates and lost-time rates. However, looking at these numbers only allows you to react to past events. You can’t change an incident that already happened. 

Instead, it’s crucial to use leading indicators to avoid incidents altogether. 

leading indicator is a measurement that helps you predict future events. These measurements can include data related to operations, systems, or worker behavior. Your leading indicators might include: 

  • Rate at which your workers wear hard hats or respiratory protection 
  • Number of hazards raised 
  • Weather patterns or rainfall measured 

When you use this kind of data, you can build operations and systems that reduce and mitigate risk, thereby lowering your incident rate through prevention rather than reaction. 

7 Tips for Reducing Accidents at Sand Plants 

Injuries are preventable by preventing incidents. Remember that incidents don’t just happen — and they’re rarely solely attributable to operator error. Root cause analysis finds that the vast majority of recordable incidents are the product of workplace or job design. 

In other words, worker behavior plays a less significant role than the way you design and run the workplace. 

You can collect leading indicators and measure your progress towards running a safer workplace by: 

  1. Providing, maintaining, and enforcing the use of PPE 
  2. Mandating new task training for all workers 
  3. Creating and enforcing rigorous lockout/tagout (LOTO) programs 
  4. Performing and logging daily inspections of all equipment 
  5. Recording and investigating all near-misses 
  6. Raising hazards to prevent slip and falls 
  7. Servicing all equipment regularly and according to the latest standards 

Remember that your goal isn’t to respond to incidents. You want to prevent them. The tips above require you to use leading indicators rather than lagging indicators, which allows you to make decisions now rather than looking back. 

Prevent Incidents by Looking Forward, Not Back 

All managers have a responsibility to their workers and communities to get their whole team home safe. Workplace incidents are preventable when you use leading indicators to make decisions about the present and future rather than looking back at an incident rate. 

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