In 2019, the number of fatalities at U.S. mines dropped considerably from the previous two years. However, that statistic is cold comfort for the families of the 24 workers who did lose their lives that year. Zero harm should always be the goal, so let’s examine the leading causes of mine accidents: vehicle-on-vehicle and vehicle-on-person collisions. These are often the result of the following problems.
When a worker is operating heavy equipment or mine vehicles, blind spots are a serious risk. Any piece of mobile equipment will create blind spots, which potentially hide other equipment and people from view. Equipment operators cannot proactively protect what they cannot see, which is why it’s necessary to eliminate blind spots by integrating advanced safety solutions directly into the equipment. All large equipment and vehicles should feature a monitoring system that warns the operator of an imminent collision when a person or object is in a blind spot.
Human error accounts for a considerable number of worksite accidents. In many of these accidents, it’s determined that the equipment operator was distracted immediately prior to the collision. Just like drivers of road vehicles, equipment operators may get distracted by their cellphones.
Mining is difficult, dangerous work that requires workers to always be alert and focused. Yet, just like in other industries, mine site workers are often vulnerable to drowsiness. An advanced collision prevention platform should continuously monitor operators for signs of drowsiness in order to send alerts, as needed.
Hexagon’s MineProtect portfolio safeguards operators from collisions involving large equipment and vehicles, as well as alerting them to signs of fatigue and distraction. Find out more about the MineProtect Collision Avoidance System, which protects all mining vehicles, assets, and vehicle operators within 500 meters in open pit mines via a non-intrusive cabin display unit. The solution provides 360-degree awareness for surrounding vehicles and selected assets, as well as a technology-leading collision avoidance function based on path prediction.