Modern underground mines frequently extend deep into the earth and are expected to operate at a very rapid pace, often around the clock.
On top of this, extremely high mine safety standards must be maintained to reduce, or totally eliminate, the risk of injury to mine workers. High safety standards also reduce the risk of damage to mining equipment and loss of productivity.
To ensure safety within a mine, it is vital that robust reporting procedures exist.
Essentially, mine safety reporting falls into two broad categories:
- Incident Reporting and Investigation
- Precautionary and Preventative Reporting
Both of these reporting types have something in common – they are very dependent on the gathering and analysis of accurate data in order to:
- Work out how and why an incident occurred and put measures in place to stop it from happening again, and
- Prevent hazardous situations from developing in the first place.
Of the two, doing everything possible to prevent situations that threaten mine safety is far preferable to having to analyse incidents that have already occurred.
In many cases, mine safety data is still gathered manually (e.g. by someone with a clipboard doing workplace inspections, or by plugging a handheld device into each sensor and then transferring the results to a PC via manual docking).
Both of these are laborious processes that reduce the speed of reaction to data, and the possibility of errors being introduced as data is transferred from one format to another (e.g. from handwritten notes on the clipboard to a spreadsheet to a report for management and to other relevant parties).
Fortunately, technological advances are making data collection and analysis simpler, faster and more accurate.
Three good examples of this are:
- An increasing number of workplace safety applications that can work on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, making information easy to gather while on the move and easy transfer electronically for rapid analysis.
- Electronic monitoring sensors (e.g. extensometers, contractometers and gas detectors) that monitor ground movement and environmental conditions in real-time while connected to a wireless mesh sensor network that links to computers either on-site or off-site, allowing for real-time data collection, analysis and alarms.
- Vehicle- and man-tracking solutions that piggy-back of the same wireless network that can report on near-misses and man-down incidents and even record the location and response times of miners underground after receiving an evacuation notification.
RAMJACK Technology Solutions specialises in monitoring technologies to improve mine safety. Our product suite includes a safety solution for just about any mining scenario. Contact us to request a demonstration of our safety and monitoring technology.