Surveying: Geophysics, Geochemical and Line Cutting

Table of Contents
11.0 Surveying Safety: Geophysical, Geochemical and Line Cutting
11.1 General Risks and Hazards Associated with All Surveys
   11.1.1 Essential Safety Guidelines for All Surveys
   11.1.2 General Safety Tips
11.2 Geophysical Survey Safety
   11.2.1 Specific Risks and Hazards Associated with Geophysical Surveys
   11.2.2 Field Safety Tips for Geophysical Surveys
11.3 Geochemical Survey Safety
   11.3.1 General Prevention and Preparation
11.4 Line Cutting Safety
11.5 Resources


Many detailed ground geophysical or geochemical surveys are contracted out to specialists, often with a mineral exploration company geologist onsite to monitor the contractor's work. An exploration company should check the contractor's safety record, including their safety program, incident statistics, and Workers Compensation Board certification or compliance history before committing to a contract. The contract should contain clauses outlining health and safety principles and practices to an acceptable level. It is also prudent to check their insurance coverage. The exploration company must give reasonable information to the contractor regarding site hazards and environmental issues, which may require a site visit by the contractor before work commences. The contractor should provide a supervisor who is responsible for compliance with the authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) such as occupational health and safety (OHS) legislation and Mines Acts and Regulations. Ideally, the contractor should be familiar with the area, especially if exploration work is undertaken in a new area or country. Otherwise, more review detail than normal is required for local health, safety and environmental conditions.
The type of work involving chainsaws and cutting grid lines is often given to employees or contractors who are local to the project for example, Aboriginal people. Such employees or contractors may be familiar with chainsaws but not in the industrial setting and not with strict health and safety considerations. Companies and project managers need to develop education systems to educate such local employees on safe practices rather than assuming that, because they have used chainsaws in their everyday life, they do so safely. Given the high level of comfort of such people with the bush or field environment, appreciation of their bush skills, as well as safety requirements of the workplace, need to be handled with sensitivity.