Spotlight Feature Articles MINE SAFETY - Page 7

MINE SAFETY Protection Outdoor scanning Like any workplace hazard, employers should look to the hierarchy of control and implement ‘control at source’ measures wherever possible in order to reduce noise levels in the area, Field says. In some environments, employees may need to wear HPE even after such measures have been taken, he added. In such cases, it is vital HPE provides adequate protection for the task at hand and is also suitable for the wearer, the task and their workplace environment, Field said. “Here, ‘adequate’ means the equipment must protect against harmful noise levels present in the given environment.” Employers should also bear in mind the need for essential communication and awareness of audible alarms and warnings, plus compatibility with any other personal protective equipment being worn, and choose hearing protection accordingly. SICK UK believes its outdoorScan3, the first laser scanner in the world to be safety-certified for use outdoors, could potentially be integrated into autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles on mine sites. “Equipped with SICK’s safeHDDM™ time-of flight infra-red scanning technology, already used in SICK’s microScan3 family, the SICK outdoorScan3 uses intelligent algorithms to filter out the influences of bright sunlight, rain, snow and fog,” the company said. With a wide scanning angle of 275° and a protective field range of 4 m, the outdoorScan3 achieves a total safe scanning area of 38.4 m² with a minimum response time of 90 m, the company said. The outdoorScan3 can monitor up to 128 individual and freely-definable protective fields, and up to eight fields simultaneously, giving it the ability to respond dynamically to the changing environment around it, SICK UK said. Resilient to ambient light with an intensity of up to 40,000 lux, the outdoorScan3’s intelligent software algorithms filter out the influences of snow (light to moderate) and rain to a precipitation intensity of 10 mm/h (moderate rain). Safety is ensured in foggy conditions by the fogSight function, which detects when meteorological visual range values eclipse 50 m and turns off the safe outputs. The outdoorScan3 can be used in temperatures from -25°C to +50°C. SICK UK concluded: “It is likely new applications for the outdoorScan3 will be developed as users explore the potential of a new technology to operate in outdoor environments.” To support its customers, SICK has opened an outdoor development and testing centre at its headquarters in Waldkirch, Germany, to explore and develop best practice in outdoor safety sensing and systems. Training Training is as important as picking the right equipment in the first place. For training to be effective, it should cover several areas including an explanation of the importance of HPE; the specific noise hazards present in their workplace; the control measures to be used; how to wear and adjust their equipment; and any maintenance and storage procedures required. “This will help to make them more aware of their own hearing safety and that of their colleagues, as well as improving their ability to protect against hazards,” Field said. Validation The level of protection provided by any given piece of HPE will differ between users, largely depending on their physical characteristics and how they wear the equipment. “For example, people with wider ear canals may receive less protection than those with narrower ones,” Field said. “Those who have not been suitably trained on how to insert their ear plugs may also face greater exposure to hazardous noise levels. Fit testing can account for all these factors, providing quantitative data to show the level of protection achieved by each worker.” This is where the E-A-Rfit Dual-Ear Validation System from 3M can test the effectiveness of ear plugs or muffs while they are being worn, giving accurate results in seconds, according to the company. Zero harm Germany’s Dräger Safety AG & Co KGaA, which has thousands of underground mining personnel gas monitors to its name, has acquired a stake in Focus Field Solutions Inc to extend its expertise in the area of digital worksites. Focus FS, which already has a strong presence in the mining, oil & gas and transportation sectors, has developed a Software as a Service platform which digitises critical operations data for people and assets. It offers different modules such as HSE (health, safety & environment), E-Mustering, Incident Management and Asset Tracking, with the customer able to choose from this range and create a solution to suit their needs. There are three main use cases that can be addressed by the solution: worker safety, plant and asset safety, and incident safety. Dräger said the digital technology minimises risk and delivery performance insights to create safer and smarter workplaces. “Through optimised workflow traffic and facility activities, real-time analytics, and dynamic HSE process worker safety accelerates from simple compliance to safety culture dominance.” Ann-Marie Edgerton, Vice President of Segment and Product Marketing Emergency & Rescue Services at Dräger, said behaviour-based safety, situational awareness, and increased operational productivity are challenges its customers face on a daily basis. “With this partnership, we have the ability to offer effective solutions today,” she said. She continued “Our vision for tomorrow is also clear. We will ensure that not only do we offer technology for life to our customers – we will have an integrated offering that supports their ambitions of building safe and efficient worksites.” Jeffrey K Brown, CEO and Co-Founder of Focus FS, said: “We believe zero-harm is achievable – and by aligning ourselves with Dräger, who also believes workplace safety is paramount, we can help our customers realise that ambition.” Safe longwalls Becker Mining Systems has many products containing automation, communication, power distribution, transport haulage and infrastructure that protect miners during their work in underground mines. This was recently displayed on a state-of-the- art longwall set of equipment the company was involved in providing for Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa’s Budryk coal mine, in Poland. Produced by its Polish subsidiary Becker Warkop Sp. z o.o., the longwall set of equipment is one of the most modern in the country. Tomasz Budniok, CEO of Becker Warkop Sp. z o.o, said innovative technical solutions have been applied to the design of the longwall system – which includes the 7LS22 longwall shearer loader and face conveyor manufactured by Komatsu (Joy) – that will ensure safe operation and high efficiency. OCTOBER 2019 | International Mining