-A.J. Balderrama, Hard Rock Miner
Miner Strong Safety Share - Communication
Communication is a key factor in any industry and can be the difference between life and death!

In Underground Mining communication is a huge part of our day-to-day operations. We use several different ways to communicate that you need to check every day and if the form of communication isn’t working we need to address the issue and get it resolved as soon as possible, in some cases work needs to be stopped and the form of communication needs to be fixed before work can resume.

Mine Phones- Mine Phones are one of our most crucial forms of communication. These need to be checked every shift of every day.  Mine Phones are a two way page phone that are located in every working headings, shops, refuge chambers, offices lay-down or periodically through out the mine and surface.

Radios- Radios are another crucial part of our communication that consists of a leaky feeder system and several channels to choose from to get ahold of muck haul, supervisors, electricians, shops, refuge chambers, or any mechanized piece of equipment that is located throughout the mine.

Passdowns- Passdowns should be handed out every shift of every day. These help every person working that shift know who, what, and where employees are doing that shift. They also need to be put on file whether it be paper files, emails, or hard drives.

Workplace Examinations- Workplace Examinations or Pre Ops need to be filled out at the beginning and throughout your shift. These are legal documents that need to be kept in files also. The Pre ops or Workplace Examinations should be available on surface located in an easily accessible area. They should have a section on there for Equipment Pre Operation section, Workplace Examination, Safety Topics, Risk Analysis, and places to address safety concerns, close calls, near misses, and gas levels. Most companies have different Workplace Examinations or Pre Ops but they should all have the same sections to address all of the topics that are key to having a safe and efficient workplace and pieces of equipment.

Face to Face Competition- Safety Meetings are one of our biggest forms of face to face communications and that is usually followed up by Line Out. Getting a face to face pass down from your cross shift or opposite is very important because you are hearing it from” the horse's mouth”.  You should also have a Supervisor/Shifter who checks on every employee several times throughout your shift to make sure you have all the proper PPE, materials, and equipment to do your job.

Cap Lamp Signals- Cap Lamp Signals are very vital to our communications. They will teach you these when you do your 40-hour MSHA and every 8-hour refresher. Before you go underground someone should test you on these signals before you head underground:
▪️ Side to Side-Stop
▪️ Circles-Come Here
▪️ Up and Down-Go Away
Brass Board- The most crucial part of underground communication! You should have a brass on person and a second one that goes on the “IN” section of the Brass Board and an “OUT” section for when you come out of the mine. In case of an emergency, the brass board is the key form of communication. If the mine is evacuated and there are still brass on the board then it becomes and search and rescue mission. Almost every mine that I’ve worked on will make you come back to the mine to remove your brass so always Brass in Brass Out!
Remember, no one can brass you in or out but yourself. That is your brass and your life on that board.
A.J. Balderrama
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