O7A.4 Hazards and injuries associated among small scale gold miners in the philippines
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Worldwide, small-scale mining (SSM) provides employment to about 13 million people and affects the livelihood of 80–100 million. This study investigated the ergonomic and safety hazards of small scale miners in one of the largest small scale mining area in the Philippines which is the area of Itogon, Benguet. There were 93 small scale miners who were included in the study as they complied with the inclusion criteria. The methods consisted of survey questionnaires, health physical examination
... de, individual interviews, and work process observation tool. The results showed that the small-scale miners worked for an average of 10.7 years, and a maximum work year of 40. The most widely employed mining technique was the dog-hole mining consisting of several sub-processes -tunneling, ball milling and gravity concentration, cyanide leaching, and smelting. The ergonomic and safety hazards identified were noise exposure from the dynamite blast, temperature extremes, and exposure to dust from dynamite blasting. The miners experienced prolonged crouching and bending, prolonged handling of tools, and carrying heavy sacks filled with mineral ores. In the ball milling and gravity concentration process, machine-related accidents were noted such as cuts from the crusher. In the cyanide leaching which uses massive amounts of cyanide, the most prevalent hazards were heat, dust, and chemicals such as cyanide fumes. In the smelting process, smoke from burning ore and coal as well as exposure to borax and nitric acid fumes. Burn injuries were reported among miners. A third (31.2%) of miners have experienced accidents. The most common injury was laceration at 47.8%, followed by methane inhalation, fracture of hand digits, and contusion at 17.4%. The most prevalent health symptom reported by the miners was muscle pain. It is suggested that intervention programs for ergonomics and safety measures be implemented by the local government.