Mining is a notoriously dangerous profession, and underground mines are particularly hazardous environments. Every year, miners are injured and killed in accidents that could have been prevented with improved or adhered to safety measures. To ensure the safety of workers, mine operators must follow mine safety and inspection regulations to provide adequate ventilation. One key element of underground ventilation is the fan or underground ventilation system, which helps to circulate fresh air throughout the mine. This article discusses the importance of safety in mining and the dangers of poor ventilation in underground mining.
UNDERGROUND VENTILATION SYSTEMS & FANS
Underground ventilation systems need to be monitored closely in line with mine safety and inspection regulations as broken fans can be a source of danger if not properly maintained. Broken fans or inadequate ventilation systems can create pockets of stagnant air which can lead to a deadly build-up of methane gas.
One of the biggest dangers of an inefficient underground ventilation system is the risk of methane gas build-up. Methane is a colourless, odourless gas that is highly flammable. A build-up of methane can create an explosive environment and can lead to deadly accidents.
In addition to the risk of explosion, methane can also cause suffocation. When methane gas accumulates in an enclosed space, it displaces oxygen and can cause people to asphyxiate. Therefore it’s essential that mine operators take care to provide adequate ventilation in their mines as a broken fan or an inefficient ventilation system can have deadly consequences for miners.
In addition to the dangers of inadequate ventilation, workers can also be exposed to excessive levels of noise from fans, which can cause permanent damage to their hearing over time. Research suggested that permanent hearing damage can occur if you are exposed to sound levels at 85 dB or more for prolonged periods of time. The louder the sound of the fan or underground ventilation system, the quicker it can cause damage.
MINE SAFETY MEASURES
Mines safety and inspection regulations are in place to help mitigate the risks of methane gas build-up and prevent deadly accidents on mine sites. Operators should provide adequate safety gear, such as gas detectors, helmets and dust masks. Training workers on how to identify pockets of stagnate air and build-ups of methane gas can also help to meet mine safety KPIs.
Mineworkers should be trained in how to identify and respond to signs of methane gas build-up. If workers detect a dangerous level of methane gas in the air, they should evacuate the mine immediately. Mine operators should have an evacuation plan in place, and workers should know what to do in case of an emergency.
There are additional safety measures mineworkers can take to ensure the ventilation system is working properly;
- Monitoring the ventilation system regularly to ensure it is functioning correctly
- Reporting any problems with the ventilation system to a supervisor immediately
- Wearing appropriate safety gear, such as gas detectors, helmets and dust masks
- Training workers on how to identify and respond to signs of methane gas build-up
MINETEK UNDERGROUND FANS & VENTILATION
MINETEK’s underground fans are engineered with the mining industry in mind. We have ventilation systems installed across the globe, with successful projects in snowy Alaska to the desert in Western Australia.
Our underground fan technology has a vast operating range for a single fan which is regulated by the integrated POD (performance on demand) system. The high-pressure fabricated steel impeller is at the forefront of ventilation technology and allows for operation at pressures previously thought impossible for an axial fan. The on-demand energy efficiency features half’s the power consumption, saving 50% on operating costs. You have the ability to provide the correct amount of air when and where you need it.
The robust design ensures that the steel impellers are unaffected by blade wear helping to prolong the life of your fan, in even the harshest environments. Our fans are also designed to be low noise, so they don’t cause hearing damage as some other fans can.
Mining can be a dangerous profession, therefore it’s essential that mine operators provide PPE, follow safety and inspection regulations and have adequate ventilation in their mines. MINETEK’s solutions help to improve mine safety and ensure safe operations.