Health and safety in hazardous environments doesn't just have implications for the wellbeing of operatives, it can also have a serious impact on an operation's finances and viability.
Whether this is due to lost productivity or - in the worst cases - pay-outs after accidents or ill health, being able to identify the health and safety risks within industrial operations is essential.
Thankfully, industrial safety technologies are constantly evolving and improving along with the health and safety policies around harsh and hazardous operations. This means that employees are better protected from the dangers of their working environment.
In this blog, we take a closer look at how industrial safety technologies are evolving, as well as how they are improving health and safety within harsh and hazardous environments.
When people talk about ‘business agility’ industries like mining and manufacturing are not usually first to mind.
But while the notion of business agility has always been associated with lean start-ups and small businesses, for mining and manufacturing organisations, being able to change with the times and embrace new technology to reduce costs and drive efficiency is now more important than ever.
Old methods have to change – and executives across industrial manufacturing are aware of the importance of innovation and business agility.
The mining sector has been in the midst of a market challenge for the last decade thanks in part to falling prices and demand as operations are continually forced to review business plans and cut costs wherever possible.
As a result of this, more operations have investigated how new mining and industrial technology and connected equipment can help drive down unnecessary costs and improve operational efficiency, without increasing risks to health and safety.
A recent report by PwC for instance highlighted that apart from health and safety improvements, technology investment is one of the prime focusses of the main mining operators across the world in the coming years.
In any mining operation, uncharted areas must be investigated and assessed to ensure both structural integrity and complete employee safety.
These areas, however, might be gas-ridden and the use of standard gas detection equipment could be unfeasible if these areas are cramped and compact.
In these instances, mining operatives need a wireless and portable gas detection solution that can provide real-time analysis of the atmosphere, and connect to a mine-wide gas detection system, giving them complete control over operations.
Hauling standard equipment to these sites is time-consuming when balanced against the speed and capability of a wireless, portable gas detection solution, while advancements in wireless technology has meant the use of these portable systems is now much easier.
So, what exactly are the benefits of a truly wireless and portable gas detection solution?
The mining industry continues to treat safety as a prime concern - and rightly so as mining operators strive for a goal of zero fatalities and incidents.
This safety objective however is set against a background of profits being squeezed and the resultant drive to increase operational efficiency. Even if the mining sector has moved on since those days of Haldane and his canaries, one thing that has remained constant is the harsh and unforgiving environment of mining operations. The good news is that those challenging surroundings are being tamed by the application of innovative safety technology.
While mining safety has improved considerably over the last two decades, mining is still one of the most dangerous occupations in the world.
On a routine basis, miners are exposed to a number of serious hazards: cave-ins, floods, gas explosions, wet surfaces, chemical exposure, dust, fumes, moving and falling machinery, and others.
In many instances, individual solutions are in place to mitigate these problems; but as new tools and techniques are utilised in mines, a more holistic and real-time approach to mine safety must be considered.
Despite increases in safety, mining remains one of the most dangerous and hazardous sectors to work in - mostly because of the unpredictable and often confined areas in which operatives work.
One of the major concerns within the mining sector is the integrity of the tunnels and shafts themselves. Effective monitoring is vital to ensure the integrity of the mine and the safety of the workers. Comprehensive strata control and monitoring instruments form the backbone of your mining and tunnelling operation.
Rock-bolting has replaced standing supports such as steel arches in underground mining operations as the best method of supporting and controlling strata. Using this technique has led to significantly reduced costs, greatly increased productivity and considerably higher levels of safety. To support this technique of strata support and control it is necessary to monitor the strata for mine safety.
According to statistics from the HSE, around 12,000 people in the UK die from dust inhalation related to exposure in the workplace every year and hazardous industries need to improve the working environment. While regulation is being tightened to improve working conditions, it is also the threat of legal claims that is focusing attention for managers, board members and shareholders alike.
Safety regulation across the globe has become ever more stringent as authorities have recognised the dangers associated with working in hazardous dusty environments. From mining to tunnelling and manufacturing, hundreds of thousands of individuals are working every day in high dust environments, and therefore at risk of inhaling potential health damaging toxins.
Traditional industrial sectors are not readily set up to deal with technological innovation and change, but these are also sectors in which technology and innovation can have the most dramatic impact both on health and safety, and productivity.
Many of the leaders in these sectors recognise the importance and benefits of innovation, but because they remain heavily reliant on traditional machinery and manpower, they can find it difficult to bring in new technology.
Trolex are pleased to announce the launch of their Technical Services department. Our service engineers have moved in to the brand new modern Vernon building, which is a fully equipped technical engineering workshop, to meet the growing demand of our customers.
At Trolex, our technical support team are highly qualified service engineers with an average of 20 years’ experience in the field. We only use skilled engineers, to provide you with a managed service that gives peace-of-mind in knowing that your systems are always operating to the highest international standards. Discover our technical engineering service options HERE.