The mining industry involves the extraction of minerals, metals, and other geological materials from the earth. This industry has been for around thousands of years and plays a crucial role in the global economies. The mining industry is a source of raw materials for various other industries like construction, energy production and manufacturing.
Despite its important contribution to the national & global economies, mining is a complex and hazardous industry involving a wide range of risks, including accidents, injuries and fatalities. Safety is thus, an important point of concern in the mining industry and it is very important for the mining companies to adhere to strict safety protocols in order to ensure workers’ safety as well as avoid any damage to equipment & property.
Some of the common safety risks in mines include: Fires & Explosions, Heat Stress, Cave-ins & Rockfalls, Chemical Exposure, Inhalation of toxic gases, and Powered-haulage related accidents.
What Are the Common Powered Haulage-Related Accidents?
Powered haulage-related accidents are one of the leading causes of fatalities in the mining industry. Powered haulage refers to a broad category of equipment including service trucks, shuttle cars, haul trucks, scoops, front-end loaders, rail cars, personnel conveyances, load-haul-dumps (LHDs) and all types of belt conveyors. The powered haulage equipment are widely used in mines and are important for transporting materials within a mine. There are several benefits of using the powered haulage equipment like increased efficiency & production, reduced labor costs & environmental impact, and improved safety.
Despite the important role played by the powered haulage equipment in mines, it is also a fact that maintaining powered haulage equipment operations have never been an easy task. These equipment are a source of both fatal and non-fatal accidents, 'collision' being a prime one. According to the Reports of Mines Safety & Health administration (MSHA), 43% of mine accidents are related to powered haulage equipment. The common powered haulage-related accidents in mines are:
Vehicle Collisions: One of the most common powered haulage-related accidents in mines are vehicle collisions. These accidents occur when the heavy vehicles collide, either with each other or with some fixed objects like pillars, walls and other equipment.
Conveyor Belt Accidents: Factors like inadequate guarding, improper maintenance and material spillage can result in conveyor belt accidents.
Rollovers: Rollovers occur when vehicle travel at high speed or are overloaded. These accidents can result in serious injuries and fatalities.
These powered-haulage related accidents often bring huge losses to the valuable assets like machinery and fuels. However, these accidents can be easily prevented using adequate surveillance and safety monitoring technologies.
What are the Causes of Powered Haulage-related Accidents in Mines?
The powered haulage accidents generally involve the loss of control and/or collisions caused by a variety of factors. The lost-time non-fatal injuries generally involve sprains/strains to multiple body areas, especially the back. The following are the antecedents that cause these accidents:
Operator/ Driver Distraction: Distraction on the part of the operator/ driver while operating vehicles is one of the prime causes of powered haulage-related accidents in mines.
Vehicle/ Equipment Over-run: Vehicle overrun, also known as engine braking, occurs when a vehicle’s engine is used instead of brakes for slowing down the vehicle. Overrun can make the vehicle lose traction and skid in case the operator/ driver releases the clutch too quickly or if the road is slippery.
Brake Failure: Brake failure is one of the most common causes of powered haulage related accidents in mines, especially on steep slopes. Misuse of equipment or inadequate maintenance are prime causes of brake failures.
Workers’ Working in Close Proximity to Vehicle: Another important cause of powered haulage related accidents in mines is when workers’ work very close to operating vehicles or machine causing collision accidents in mine sites.
Overloading: Overloading vehicles can lead to instability and tipping over. It can also put excess strain on vehicle components, that can lead to equipment failure and accidents.
How Can AI Video Analytics Prevent Powered Haulage-related Accidents in Mines?
AI video analytics has been emerging with its tremendous potentialities to boost safety and productivity in the workplaces, mining without being an exception. viAct has been actively leveraging these potentialities of video analytics to ensure safety in various jobsites including construction, manufacturing, oil & gas and mining industry.
viAct’s AI-powered machinery/ vehicle monitoring solution – viMAC – leverages the power of video analytics for workplace safety to prevent/ reduce powered haulage-related accidents in mining jobsites in the following ways:
Operator Distraction Detection: Using the AI-powered viMAC, stakeholders can track instances of distraction/ inattention on the part of the operator/ driver while operating the vehicles like operator/ driver sleeping while driving, looking outside window, etc. As soon as such instance is detected, local light & sound alerts are triggered – alerting both the operator as well as on-site stakeholders about the distraction so that instant action can be taken to avoid any fatality.
Real-time Vehicle Tagging: The fleet managers can get instant and automated alerts in the form of texts, email or other instant messaging apps, in case the vehicles equipped with smart viMAC enter or exit their designated zones. This helps fleet managers keep a track of vehicles in the jobsite and ensure their safety.
On-site Human-Vehicle-Object Collision Alerts: The smart AI-powered cameras mounted on the powered haulage vehicles can detect any instance of close proximity between vehicles/ equipment/ objects and workers. Further, the dangerous situation alert system equipped with viMAC can alert operators of such close proximity so that the workers, operators as well as stakeholders are warned about the dangerous situation and insightful action are taken before it is too late.
Fleet Management Records: The centralized management platform records all the insights captured by the AI cameras. It can generate trend-oriented reports of all the non-compliances taking place in the jobsites, which the stakeholders can view anytime and from anywhere. This enables fleet managers to better manage powered haulage equipment in the mining jobsites.
Vehicle/ Machinery Productivity Monitoring: Using AI in mining can also help stakeholders to monitor vehicle/ machinery productivity in the jobsites. When equipped with viMAC, the fleet managers can track the presence of their fleet on site along with their operation & idling hours – all contributing towards improving fleet productivity.
Real-time On-Road Fleet Management: Using the GPS fleet trackers, web interface & viAct’s mobile app, fleet managers can view the live location of their fleet and keep a track of the high value fuel carrying vehicles.
Thus, in this way AI video analytics can prevent powered haulage-related accidents in the mining sites and in turn boost safety performance in the mining industry.
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