Rockfall refers to the mass movement of rocks travelling in a downward motion by either rolling, bouncing or falling after detaching from different types of slopes. Rockfall can occur on a minute scale and they can be massive enough to cause a significant amount of damage.
The irregularity of slopes is what causes a difference in the movement of the rocks. Rockfalls are a cause of concern in various areas, but they are most prevalent in places where there are structures under construction near slopes or in natural environments around mountainous regions.
Areas around mountains or mines are especially susceptible to continuous spells of rockfall. Workers who are a part of teams working on-site are at risk of being hurt.
Management should take special precautions to prevent such calamities. Here is how you can successfully safeguard the well-being of your workers.
- Have research specialists analyse the area for danger levels
Having experts work the field before you bring your workers to the site can help you make the area safer. Experts can analyse and find out the existing danger levels and the risk factors involved in working in the area. An initial investigation can save you a significant amount of time in the future in case the area is more at risk than you initially thought. Building on land that is more prone to rockfall increases the constant risk prevalent in the area, which is damaging for the workforce and every individual who visits the premises.
- Have an extensive training session
Working in areas that can be dangerous requires an extensive training session for them before they can set foot on the site. A properly scheduled training course that includes sessions by professionals who can spread awareness about the hazards associated with working in a rockfall prone zone is essential.
Having experts who educate your workers about how to protect themselves if caught in the midst of a rockfall and the measures to take when they are trapped or during the evacuation will further decrease the risk of any serious or fatal injury.
- Teach the workers about the warning signs they should notice
There are various warning signs that can be helpful in alerting individuals working in a rockfall zone about the imminent arrival of a fresh descent of rocks. Being taught to read and understand the signs in the environment will be extremely helpful for all those who are involved in the work. Learning to sense a potential rockfall will result in the teams evacuating the area and will ensure the safety of every person working on the site.
- Make use of rockfall protection systems
You may feel that a rockfall is a natural disaster and cannot be controlled or avoided. The truth is there are rockfall protection applications available(for example debris flow barriers and rockfall embankments which you can find at https://www.maccaferri.com/us/applications/rockfall-protection-snow-barriers/)that help in stabilising rock faces, snow masses and soil slopes. The protection systems successfully eliminate the possibility of a rockfall. One preventive method is known as rockfall drapery meshes. The installation of rockfall protection systems may be difficult as the locations are often remote, but it significantly reduces the risk levels.
- Equip the workers with the right protective gear
Making sure that every individual on the ground is in possession of the right protective gear is another way to increase their safety on the site.
Having drills where mock rockfallscenariosare recreated will help the workers prepare for the actual incident and will assist them in remaining calm during the emergency.This will help them adapt and react quickly in case of an actual accident.
If you are sending workers to areas that are accident-prone due to a rockfall then taking every measure necessary to ensure their safety is a responsibility you cannot skimp on. Following these five steps will take care of the issue for you without putting a significant dent in your pockets!