A search through the International Labor Organization’s database confirms that the three most dangerous countries for mining workings are: Turkey, Denmark and Panama. According to these ILO statistics, Turkey rates highest in terms of fatalities, with an annual average of 57.4 death per 100,000 workers.

mining industry safety

While these numbers seem brutally high as it is, news reporter Tim Fernholz draws our attention to the fact that most coal producing countries do not make available comparable data on occupational safety. Not included in the above IPO list of mining economies are:

  • China, who last made available official data on the number of fatalities in its mining industry in 1997 when at least 3,200 people died,
  • India, with available statistics pointing at 242 deaths per year, with 752 fatalities documented between 2009 and 2013,
  • Indonesia, who reported 276 deaths in 1999.

Safety Issues in Underground Mining

In terms of safety, mining operations typically experience the following problems:

  • Tragic incidents occur where employees who get lost underground pass away before search parties can locate them.
  • Deep level underground mines have large geographic areas and employees often use alternative travelling routes between places of work for various reasons. It is not uncommon to have over 100 kilometers (62 miles) of active haulage systems and travelling ways in a large gold mine.
  • Current time and attendance based shift clearance procedures, although reasonably effective, take time. A search for a potentially “lost employee” is only initiated once visual confirmations like ‘lamp in charge rack’ or locker searches have taken place.
  • Searches underground are normally initiated only once a shift clearance process has identified persons who have not clocked out prior to blasting times or “end of shift” windows. It could take several hours to mobilize search teams and to determine where to start looking – time that is critical to the search and safe recovery of a lost or incapacitated employee.

A Complete Solution to Safety in Underground Mines

Profitek’s Minelert solution to Lost Persons Detection (LPD) employs modular network technology that can effectively piggy-back and run on many existing ethernet backbones.

This Lost Person Detection System (LPDS) makes use of sensor tags which are worn by the miners. The tags are independently powered by a battery with a five to eight year lifespan. When miners pass one of the hundreds of tag controllers their tags are detected and this date and time stamped data is continually uploaded onto the system. If there is any incident, the system immediately pinpoints the location of every single miner.

Safety Solutions for Complete and Minimum Infrastructure

In order to implement the full lost persons detection solution that pinpoints the exact location, an infrastructure of network boxes (installed every 300 meters/ 984 ft of a shaft) is required.

In the case of marginal mines where this complete network infrastructure is not available, Profitek’s Minelert installs a basic minimum network infrastructure that makes it possible to track the approximate location of missing persons. With this infrastructure in place the search area is already narrowed down.

Mobile Detection Safety Appliances

Additionally, Profitek’s Minelert has developed a hands-free mobile detection unit for proto (rescue) teams to guide them to the exact location of missing persons by picking up the signal from the tags worn by the miners themselves. These mobile detection units work much like a standard metal detector which makes a beeping sound once it comes in range of a tag. The beeping sound escalates in frequency as the proximity to the tag increases, guiding rescuers to the exact location of the missing person.

The Profitek’s Minelert mobile detection unit speeds up search and rescue missions and aids proto teams in ensuring safe recovery of missing persons.

Benefits of a Safe Mining Environment

coal mine safety appliancesThe risk of fatality and injury in mining affects human life, labour relations and also operational productivity. Profitek’s Minelert Lost Persons Detection System not only saves lives and ensures positive labour relations, but prevents the loss of production which in turn protects the jobs of millions of mine workers.



Underground Mine Safety