Mine Site Safety

MINE SITE SAFETY: SIMPLE TOOLS & COMPLEX SYSTEMS COMBINE TO PROTECT WORKERS


Harsh environments. Dangerous explosives. Tricky slopes. Steep, narrow haul roads. These are just a few of the hazards mine workers on the surface and underground face on a daily basis as they unearth the minerals essential for everyday life. Accidents do occur, but the good news is, they’re becoming rarer all the time. That’s due to a culture of prevention that’s being embraced by mine workers at every level—plus advances in technology that are making today’s mine sites safer than ever before.

These technologies range from basic camera and radar systems to fully autonomous mine sites that remove workers from potentially dangerous situations entirely. Many are based on the premise that the more operators know about the working environment around them, the more safely they can operate their equipment.

The simplest mining safety tools are on-board cameras. Because operators in the cabs of large mining machines often can’t see if other equipment is too close for safe operation, many machines now come equipped with mounted cameras. To see what’s happening close to their equipment, operators use an in-cab display to select from a variety of camera angles. Some of these displays automatically switch views depending on the operator’s gear selection—a forward view when in drive, a rear view when in reverse.

Adding radar capabilities to machines with on-board cameras further enhances operator awareness of mine site safety hazards. Machines equipped with radars can automatically detect other equipment or vehicles in front of them, behind them or within their turning radius. If the radars detect a truck pulling up alongside the machine, for example, the system switches to a side camera view—and the in-cab display alerts the operator with a yellow or red flash, depending on the location of the hazard.

Some detection systems give light vehicles, portable equipment and fixed plant infrastructure an electronic presence within a digital mine site. That means operators will be able to see exactly where equipment is located in relation to their machines. GNSS positioning enables mine management to preprogram information about avoidance zones, known mine site hazards or fixed infrastructure that can be displayed to operators right in the cab.

All of these systems can be set to provide operators with both visual and audible alerts when they approach an avoidance zone or move too close to an oncoming machine. And software tools allow information about mine site hazards identified by one machine—such as large rocks or a troublesome soft spot in a haul road—to be shared instantly with other equipment.

More complex technology systems, like precision guidance tools, also deliver significant safety benefits. When installed on equipment, these systems keep machines working in the right locations, thereby keeping operators away from dangerous areas.

Ultimately, remote control, semi-autonomous and fully autonomous systems offer the biggest opportunities for improving mine site safety. Dozers, for example, often work in tricky applications—stockpile feeding, leach pad construction and high wall and edge operation. Operating these machines via remote control—using an over-the-shoulder, line-of-sight console—keeps the operator a safe distance away from the working area. And when there’s a need for even more remote operation, these systems can integrate video and sensing technologies to control and monitor a machine from much greater distances.

Semi- and fully autonomous vehicles deliver safety benefits in a number of applications. Autonomous haul trucks can come when called, position themselves for loading, then navigate to their assigned dump locations—all without a single operator on board. In drilling situations, autonomous vehicles keep operators out of the pit and away from areas where dangerous explosives are being used. And for underground mining safety, operators can control the functions of Load Haul Dump (LHD) machines from an office or remote location far away from the hazards of the underground mine.

From the simplest camera to the most complicated autonomous machine, all of these tools have one primary goal—keeping the people on a mine site safe from harm. How has your mine site instilled a culture of prevention? What systems have you implemented to improve safety? Which tools have you found to be most effective? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter.


HOW TO ADDRESS COMMON MINE SITE SAFETY INCIDENTS


The bad news: Mine safety issues can cause lost time, needless expense and sleepless nights. The good news: Technology can help you rest easy.

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Detect for Object Detection


Automatically detect and alert operators to potential hazards around their machines, no matter what type or brand of equipment they operate.

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MINE SITE SAFETY: SIMPLE TOOLS & COMPLEX SYSTEMS COMBINE TO PROTECT WORKERS


Harsh environments. Dangerous explosives. Tricky slopes. Steep, narrow haul roads. These are just a few of the hazards mine workers on the surface and underground face on a daily basis as they unearth the minerals essential for everyday life. Accidents do occur, but the good news is, they’re becoming rarer all the time. That’s due to a culture of prevention that’s being embraced by mine workers at every level—plus advances in technology that are making today’s mine sites safer than ever before.

These technologies range from basic camera and radar systems to fully autonomous mine sites that remove workers from potentially dangerous situations entirely. Many are based on the premise that the more operators know about the working environment around them, the more safely they can operate their equipment.

The simplest mining safety tools are on-board cameras. Because operators in the cabs of large mining machines often can’t see if other equipment is too close for safe operation, many machines now come equipped with mounted cameras. To see what’s happening close to their equipment, operators use an in-cab display to select from a variety of camera angles. Some of these displays automatically switch views depending on the operator’s gear selection—a forward view when in drive, a rear view when in reverse.

Adding radar capabilities to machines with on-board cameras further enhances operator awareness of mine site safety hazards. Machines equipped with radars can automatically detect other equipment or vehicles in front of them, behind them or within their turning radius. If the radars detect a truck pulling up alongside the machine, for example, the system switches to a side camera view—and the in-cab display alerts the operator with a yellow or red flash, depending on the location of the hazard.

Some detection systems give light vehicles, portable equipment and fixed plant infrastructure an electronic presence within a digital mine site. That means operators will be able to see exactly where equipment is located in relation to their machines. GNSS positioning enables mine management to preprogram information about avoidance zones, known mine site hazards or fixed infrastructure that can be displayed to operators right in the cab.

All of these systems can be set to provide operators with both visual and audible alerts when they approach an avoidance zone or move too close to an oncoming machine. And software tools allow information about mine site hazards identified by one machine—such as large rocks or a troublesome soft spot in a haul road—to be shared instantly with other equipment.

More complex technology systems, like precision guidance tools, also deliver significant safety benefits. When installed on equipment, these systems keep machines working in the right locations, thereby keeping operators away from dangerous areas.

Ultimately, remote control, semi-autonomous and fully autonomous systems offer the biggest opportunities for improving mine site safety. Dozers, for example, often work in tricky applications—stockpile feeding, leach pad construction and high wall and edge operation. Operating these machines via remote control—using an over-the-shoulder, line-of-sight console—keeps the operator a safe distance away from the working area. And when there’s a need for even more remote operation, these systems can integrate video and sensing technologies to control and monitor a machine from much greater distances.

Semi- and fully autonomous vehicles deliver safety benefits in a number of applications. Autonomous haul trucks can come when called, position themselves for loading, then navigate to their assigned dump locations—all without a single operator on board. In drilling situations, autonomous vehicles keep operators out of the pit and away from areas where dangerous explosives are being used. And for underground mining safety, operators can control the functions of Load Haul Dump (LHD) machines from an office or remote location far away from the hazards of the underground mine.

From the simplest camera to the most complicated autonomous machine, all of these tools have one primary goal—keeping the people on a mine site safe from harm. How has your mine site instilled a culture of prevention? What systems have you implemented to improve safety? Which tools have you found to be most effective? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter.

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