Even though mining is the safest it has ever been in history, it’s still a dangerous industry to be in. There are a variety of hazards and ventilation is a major one. Once upon a time, coal miners descended into the mines with a canary on hand to let them know when danger was near. The bird would become sick (or die) letting miners know they needed to return to the surface.
Luckily, we have moved on from those days, however, poor ventilation, or a lack of it altogether, still presents many issues. It exposes miners to gases, dust, and heat at harmful levels. It can result in immediate death or in chronic illnesses that eventually lead to death. Additionally, the risk of airborne contaminants (like methane) can be controlled through ventilation which dilutes the concentration of it before it can enter the air stream. The system forces air through the areas of the mine where miners are working and provides adequate ventilation to allow them to work safely. It is vital for effective ventilation and it is usually achieved by using above ground fans pushing air in one direction. Another effective way to control dust levels is by spraying machines down with water and using a fan to trap dust.
Gases are often the cause of poisoning or a lack of oxygen in the mining industry and as this results in asphyxiation gas detection equipment is an effective way to understand when the air has reached dangerous levels. It’s important to remember that the effects may not be immediate and could present further down the line in the health of many miners.