Mining has been known for decades as one of the most dangerous industries from the perspective of worker safety. Mining workers face an array of potentially hazardous situations in their daily operations. While issues such as exposure to dust and methane and falling rocks are serious safety concerns, collision is probably responsible for the highest number of mining accidents. Use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, ear protection, helmets, safety glasses, safety boots, gas detectors, and lanyards are considered to be mandatory while working in mines. The advent of modern technology has contributed significantly to making mines a safer place for workers. Though it is not safety equipment per se, proximity alert systems are highly effective in reducing the probability mining accidents resulting from collisions.
Mining vehicles have always been a serious concern because of their huge size. Though the design of these types of vehicles provide protection from rocky terrain and falling objects, they can still fall short when it comes to maneuverability and managing blind spots. The risk of collision involving these type of vehicles can increase significantly because of factors such as small spaces, reduced visibility, restricted access, poor decisions, and operator fatigue.
Proximity detection technology is the most reliable alternative to avert collisions in underground as well as open pit mines. Tools enabled by this technology can be installed on the vehicles, which helps detect the presence of other vehicles or personnel within a settable distance from the vehicle. Workers can also be warned by proximity warning systems through vibratory, audible or visual indicators as they get closer to potentially dangerous mining vehicles. Nowadays, we also have systems, where detectors are mounted on the vehicles and RFID tags, are worn by the workers. In these systems, operators receive audio and visual warnings relating to possible collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians.
How do they Work?
A transmitter and a receiver are the two primary components of a typical proximity warning system. A receiver is a visual unit, alarm, or sensor located in or attached to the vehicles. Transmitters are usually personal tags worn by workers. The function of the receivers is to scan continuously to detect the presence of tags. When a tag is detected in the vicinity of the set danger zones, an alarm is triggered for the vehicle operator and the pedestrian so that necessary action can be initiated.
Proximity alert systems are available in many different types, each with its own capabilities and features. Some of these systems can be set up easily, and they don’t require any dedicated infrastructure. On the other hand, there are more complex systems that require connectivity. The systems designed for commercial settings are compact, smaller, and easier to install. However, for mining operations, it is always recommended to use proximity alert systems that are designed to withstand extreme conditions such as dust, vibration, and higher temperature.
Once the system is installed, it must be maintained and tested regularly to ensure that it functions properly. Also, all stakeholders should be trained adequately to use the system.
At ShockWatch, we have some of the industry’s most effective proximity alert systems that have been used across industries including mining, shipping, construction, warehousing, and others. Please contact our experts today to find out the best option for your mining operations.