ARCOSUD's Integrative Healthcare in Mining Communities

The mining industry has a reputation for being a risky business, with health risks that are varied and often quite serious, and it is important for miners to protect themselves accordingly. Nevertheless, with the introduction of strict safety legislation and protocol, as well as advances in safety equipment, the industry has seen its fatality rate drop over time.Although the goal of zero harm has not yet been achieved, ARCOSUD believes that through collaborative implementation of prevention and mitigation programmes occupational health related fatalities may reduce to close to zero.

3 common occupational health risks prevalent in the mining industry
Coal Dust

Dust inhalation or coal dust is one of the most common concerns for miners. “The ongoing inhalation of coal dust can cause what is colloquially known as ‘miner’s lung’ or ‘black lung’. Miner’s lung is a form of the occupational lung disease group pneumoconiosis. It varies in severity, but symptoms include hortness of breath and scarring of lung tissue, which can cause ongoing respiratory issues.

Even though measures to prevent black lung have been legally enforced for many years now, new cases still occur among coal miners. Even though the mining companies are trying their best to implement dust control plans, ensuring that dust control systems are working properly for every production shift workers still suffer from inhaled coal dust that always find its way into the workers’ respiratory system.

Mine workers should be trained on the hazards of over-exposure to coal mine dust so that they are better informed and able to take precautionary measures to protect themselves. Foods that help detoxify the body, foods that heal the gut, and food that decongest and cleanse the throat and the lungs on a regular basis for maintaining homeostasis:-

  • asbestosis, mesothelioma
  • silicosis
  • cancers
  • lung (gold mining, coke oven)
  • nasal (nickel)
  • gastro-intestinal
  • chronic obstructive lung disease (sulfur dioxide)
  • emphysema
  • skin diseases
UV Exposure

For open-pit miners, understanding the risk of over-exposure to UV (ultraviolet) radiation in sunlight is essential. Over exposure of ultraviolet rays can put you at risk of skin cancer, of which the cases are on the rise in the world. In the short-term, overexposure to the sun can cause dehydration, headaches and nausea.

Mine workers often spend whole days out in the baking hot sun, so are naturally at a very high risk of developing cancer and eye problems if they are not adequately protected.

To minimize the high risk associated with over-exposure to UV, ARCOSUD is implementing programs that educate mine workers how to use specific healing crops in the holistic gardens to produce natural sun protection creams they can use anytime they are working on the sun, while at the same time teaching mining households how to prepare various herbal snacks to eat regularly to prevent digestive disorders caused by whole body vibration.

Thermal stress

Mining workers and their families are prone to very hot and humid atmosphere experienced in mining environments. Overexposure to heat and humidity can cause the body to become fatigued and distressed- a situation that can develop into a heat stroke or more serious ongoing health problems.

ARCOSUD through the integrative healthcare initiative, promotes the use of specific healing food crops, herbs and medicinal meals as well as exercises and lifestyle change to help manage and minimize effects of fatigue and distress.

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