Risk Assessment & Engineering Controls in Mining

Mine Site Technologies (MST) first ever product was an emergency warning system for underground miners – the PED System.    We have kept at the forefront of developing technologies to support safety systems at mines and in recent years proximity detection systems – sometimes referred to as collision avoidance systems (CAS) – has been a growing focus.

What these and our other safety related technologies provide is an engineering control to a risk that cannot be eliminated from a mining operation, but needs to be managed.

A classic summary of the risk assessment process and the role of engineering controls is the Bow Tie Diagram shown below. One side of the diagram highlights the processes and controls to eliminate or reduce the chance of a hazard developing, whilst the other side of the diagram shows the controls to reduce the impact of an incident should it occur.Bowtie

MST has worked closely with our mining clients, being involved in risk assessments for their operations  to provide engineering controls to:

1.     To reduce the chance of an identified risk occurring, such as:

  • Proximity Detection is an example of using an engineering control to reduce the risk of a collision between a vehicle and person or other vehicle.
  • Gas monitoring gives early warning of dangerous concentrations of gas building up.

2.   Minimize the impact of any incident should something go wrong, such as:

  • Tracking miners underground can greatly increase the survivability of any incident, such as a mine fire, by managing rescue efforts much more effectively and safely. This not only increases the chance of survival of the personnel affected by the incident, but also greatly reduces the risk to the rescue team deciding if to, and where to, target their rescue efforts.
  • A quick and reliable emergency warning system is a critical aspect of any Mine Emergency Preparedness Plan.  Where minutes can literally mean the difference between life and death, an effective system to not only alert miners of a hazardous situation developing, but also advise the where it is  and what responses are appropriate at their particular location is a huge advantage.  Hence why the PED Through-the-Earth (TTE) agency alert system is installed in many mines, so each miner can be send text messages immediately an incident occurs, even if they are out of range of the mine’s normal communication system.

Meeting Mining Legislation & Laws:

In some countries there are prescriptive laws that dictate certain systems must be in place to enhance safety at a mining operation.  An example being the MINER Act put in place by MSHA in the United States that defines the requirements for a two-way communication and miner tracking system each mine must install. MST is very relevant in countries where these type of laws are in place, as our long history of supplying mine communication and tracking systems offers many mines a safe and reliable technology choice.

While the mining industry continues to focus on ways to improve safety for workers and machinery, the requirement for proximity detection is also present in other industries where potential risks exist in dangerous operation zones and where heavy vehicles or mobile equipment are in use.

Learn how MST improves safety and productivity

Avoiding incidents requires safer operating procedures and defining safe boundary zones.  But there is  a growing need to add another level of technology control to manage the risks and help mitigate random behaviour of individuals.

MST works with customers to improve safety using proximity detection systems, tracking miners underground and emergency warming systems  to effectively reduce risk, while not compromising operational efficiency.

Our technology provides intelligent applications and management solutions that can be fully customised and integrated with existing infrastructure to deliver maximum operational safety and productivity.

Discover more about our solutions here ›

Discover more about our solutions here ›

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Safety Insights

To read our latest article on Proximity Detection adoption

click here ›