The mining industry is the one place where hazards and other forms of risks are prone to occur any minute. And mining vehicles contribute significantly to some of the hazards; especially the fires. The use of underground mining technology in mining has helped a great deal, especially with sublevel caving. But still, it is safe to say that the underground mining vehicles are significant in the industry. And, in as much as they can also be a costly risk in the industry, these risks are also avoidable.
Most of these fires occur due to human error and poor management. And in the mining industry, it is not uncommon for a simple fire safety oversight to have serious consequences. A lot of property will be damaged or worse, some of the employees’ lives will be endangered. It is, therefore, crucial that the mine site operators regularly check, identify, and address some of the common issues that can cause fire hazards. Some of the common mining mistakes in the industry that can cause fire have been mentioned below. Keep reading.
1. Using a cursory or irregular approach to assessing the fire risks
If the management does this, it is easy for them to miss sighting some of the hazards that may cause a fire. To avoid this from happening, site managers need to undertake thorough and documented assessments of the vehicle fire risks and address them immediately. It is crucial that the mining site managers identify and address both the conventional and less obvious fire hazards. In this case and this field of work, nothing can be left to chance. The most common fire hazards frequent on underground mining technology include engine or turbo failure, fuel leaks, tire pyrolysis, hot vehicle exhausts, etc. Human error and flammable gas buildup are some of the more discrete hazards that must also be considered.
2. Not undertaking routine and regular maintenance checks
Some mine site trucks can operate for up to 23 hours straight in a day. And that leaves very minimal time for inspection and maintenance of these vehicles. For this reason, it is very easy for something like a faulty fitting or burst hydraulic hose to go undetected. And these are just some of the common hazards that can quickly cause a fire. Human error also accounts here. Say, for example, a staff leaves clean clothing on a hot vehicle surface. What’s to say that that piece of clothing may not catch fire? Frequent checkups and maintenance routine on all underground mining technology related devices is important.
3. Not installing suitable vehicle fire suppression systems
All mining vehicles need to have suitable fire suppression systems installed as this can significantly reduce fire accidents in the vehicles. But then, you find that some mine site operators fail to do so. These fire suppression systems work to warn the vehicle operators by providing early detections and warnings. This gives the mining crew ample time to evacuate the area and even address the hazard early safely.
4. Pushing the mining vehicles beyond the manufacturers’ set limits
To avoid any accidents like fire from occurring in the mining fields, it is critical that the mine site operators strictly adhere to the specifications set by the original equipment manufacturers. These can include anything from the maximum recommended time to operate the vehicles to the minimum allowed fuel or oil that can run these machines.