Medical support to demining operations

  • Version
    Ed. 1, Amendment 5
  • Creation
    23 May 2018

The responsibilities of the National Mine Action Authority (NMAA), employers and employees for providing and maintaining a safe workplace are outlined in IMAS 10.10. Safety and Occupational Health (S&OH) are achieved through the development of safe work practices and operating procedures, effective supervision, and control, appropriate education and training form both men and women, equipment of inherently safe design, the provision of effective and suitable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and clothing and correct prophylactics against disease.

Good management and supervision will reduce the likelihood of harm, but there will always be the potential for demining accidents to occur. Demining organisations and employees must therefore be properly trained and equipped to respond to demining accidents. Demining is often conducted in an environment degraded by conflict and other humanitarian challenges, perhaps made worse through natural disasters. Under these circumstances diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, triptosomiasis and cholera, previously kept in check by national medical control measures, can again become widespread.

Developing a capacity to provide an appropriate response to a demining accident requires good planning, well trained staff and the availability of medical services able to provide effective emergency treatment. Notwithstanding the legal and moral obligations placed on managers to provide the best medical support possible, in particular at the demining worksite, planning must acknowledge the reality of field operations. In mine-affected countries suffering from post- conflict trauma, the medical facilities will be limited, and overstretched. In these circumstances, mine action authorities and demining organisations should not place unrealistic demands on the host nation's medical infrastructure, in particular during the initial stages of a demining programme, but should plan to be as medically self-sufficient as possible.

The aim of this standard is to provide specifications and guidance for the provision of appropriate medical support to demining operations in the field. The document is in three parts: clauses 1 to 3 define the scope, references and terms used in the standard; clauses 4 and 5 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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