Demining worksite safety

  • Version
    Ed. 1, Amendment 7
  • Latest amendment
    01 Jun 2013

The need to reduce risk and to provide a safe working environment are fundamental principles of mine action management. Risk reduction involves a combination of safe working practices and operating procedures, effective supervision and control, appropriate education and training, equipment of inherently safe design, and the provision of effective personal protective equipment and clothing.

The provision of a safe working environment includes the design and layout of a demining worksite by fencing and marking hazardous areas, controlling the movement of deminers, visitors and the public, establishing and enforcing working distances, and providing effective medical cover and insurance. This requires National Mine Action Authorities (NMAA) and demining organisations to develop and maintain appropriate policy and procedures.

It is necessary to clarify the meaning of the term 'safe' in respect of mine action. To say that a situation is safe does not necessarily imply that all risk has been removed. It merely assumes that the risk has been reduced to a 'tolerable' level, i.e. '.... to a level which is accepted in a given context based on the current values of society'. (See ISO Guide 51.)

Given the wide range of operational settings and mine action activities, it is not possible to provide a precise and complete set of specifications or provisions that apply to all mine action worksites. However, it is possible to state that the greatest risk is faced by the deminers closest to the hazard, with those at a greater distance facing a smaller risk of secondary injury. Mine action organisations should develop and maintain management procedures and processes that will enable Safety and Occupational Health (S&OH) risks in the worksite to be identified, evaluated and reduced in a systematic and timely manner.

This standard provides NMAA and demining organisations with guidance on the development and implementation of policy and documented procedures for establishing and managing a safe worksite. The document is in three parts: clauses 1 to 3 define the scope, references and terms used in the standard; clauses 4 to 7 define the requirements, specifications and responsibilities; and the Annexes provide additional detailed information and guidance on how to apply the standard.

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