Coal Age

JUN 2018

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36 www.coalage.com June 2018 powered haulage continued and the rotating shaft. He went inside the guarded area and became entangled in the rotating shafts. The guard also had a door that could be removed to provide access to clean the conveyor system. "Active guarding allows miners to clean systems without removing the guard," Smith said. "Doors in a guarded area only compound the problem. Miners should de-energize the system properly to work inside the guarded area." There were two similar fatalities in West Virginia. A mine examiner was fatal- ly injured when he lost his footing and fell onto a moving a conveyor and struck a belt crossover 10 ft away. In this situation, the belt crossover was too narrow, Smith ex- plained. "It was not wide enough to allow miners to turn around and exit feet first once they started to cross," Smith said. "The dust on the crossover was complete- ly undisturbed indicating that the miners were not using the crossover. Instead, they were crossing improperly at the tailpiece." In a similar set of circumstances, a mine examiner was working alone so there were no witnesses, but he had signed date boards on one side of the location of the fatal incident. Again, there was a proper cross-under within 100 ft. "It's time to start evaluating belt crossing facilities frequent- ly at all transfer points," Smith said. "By installing barriers at strategic locations, mine operators can block the areas that can be used to improperly cross the belt. It's also important to install visual and au- dible pre-start alarms that will alert peo- ple several seconds before the belt starts, along with pull chords and switches that allow miners to stop the belt." These were all unfortunate situations. Whenever an accident occurs, it's important to drill down to try to find the root causes to determine how and why this happened, A Battle of the Zones How Advanced Proximity Detection Technology Shapes the Game When MSHA required all coal mines to install proximity detection earlier this year, two things quickly became clear. First, mines that want- ed to avoid costly fines had to get on board fast, and second, they could choose between two kinds of prox technology: shaped zones or bubble zones. Basic bubble zones are circular, created by using signal strength, and can also be over- lapped to create a football-like shape. Unfor- tunately, this type of zone expands wider as it extends forward, detecting workers to the sides or in cross-cuts who are actually in a safe lo- cation. The resulting nuisance trips are a mine productivity drain. On the other hand, shaped zones allow miners to create customized Cau- tion, Shutdown and Operator areas around mobile equipment. The zones are programmed to dynamically conform to a machine's shape, speed and direction. They automatically enlarge or contract to fit linear shapes or sharp angles based on mobile equipment operating mode. Shaped-zone technology can be tailored for all mobile equipment, such as continuous miners, mobile haulage (including articulating models) or shuttle cars and adapt to the spe- cific operating environment. Bubble zone sys- tems are more of a one-size-fits-all solution that doesn't provide for extensive customization. IntelliZone ® proximity detection by Matrix features patented SharpZoneTM technolo- gy that allows for shaped zones and provides ultra-precision for tracking personnel. It can even generate customized "green" operator zones within the awareness zones to allow op- erators to stand, kneel or, if appropriate, ride in safe locations without setting off an alert. No other company can create these shaped zones. This unique technology and highest quali- ty precision tracking have made IntelliZone the number one coal mining proximity detection system in the U.S. Ultimately, IntelliZone's components, du- rability and reliability provide the lowest cost of ownership in coal mine proximity detection. Its suite of exclusive features balances safety and production, and its precision raises a mine's safety factor. The MSHA deadline has passed, but mines needing new systems or wanting to upgrade are wise to compare shaped zones versus bub- ble. For customization and precision, shaped zones win every time. Matrix can be reached at sales@matrixteam.com or 812-490-1525. COMPANY PROFILE-PAID ADVERTISEMENT

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