lamp room best practices

Productivity and safety in mining operations are inextricably intertwined. By making use of a lamp room system as safety control terminal many safety and operational hazards can be eliminated. David Douglas, divisional manager for power solution at Willard Batteries points out why lamp room systems are ideal for use as health and safety control centre:

“A mine’s lamp room is the critical start and end point of each miner’s day. By putting stringent procedures in place in the lamp room, as opposed to at the entrance of each shaft alone, you can create a far more efficient and effective system.”

While lamp rooms are traditionally used solely for storage and maintenance of miners’ lamps, mining operations have the opportunity to customize their lamp room systems for access control, to ensure safety of miners’ equipment and for improved shaft clearance procedures. Indeed, gearing a lamp room for use as safety control system can aid in the prevention of loss of production while improving safety of working conditions.

From traditional lamp room to sophisticated Safety Control Terminal (SCT)

lamp room for mine safety

Lamp room systems can be configured to perform a variety of checks that are critical to safety of operations and workers by integrating digital applications such as:

Checklist: Lamp Room Best Practices

The Mine Health and Safety Council of South Africa recommends the following best practices for transforming your lamp room into a safety control terminal for prevention and management of emergencies such as inrushes, fires, explosions and other emergencies (Click on image for printable checklist):

lamp room best practices

  • CoP (Code of Practice) Lamp rooms reviewed and current.
  • Competent lamp room staff: OEM (Occupational & Environmental Medicine) trained & certified.
  • Competent lamp room supervision: OEM trained & certified.
  • Official in charge of lamp room(s): OEM trained & certified.
  • Repairs on contract with OEM or approved repairer.
  • OEM / supplier regularly visits and reports on lamp rooms.
  • Adequate facilities to calibrate and maintain instruments.
  • All instruments for issue working and calibrated.
  • Gas cylinders: certified, tested and records kept.
  • Individual history of each instrument available.
  • Personal issue of instruments.
  • Adequate spare instruments available.
  • Mechanism and records to shown daily drawing of instruments by individual users.
  • Reporting and action against failure to draw instrument.
  • Users competent to carry out pre-use checks easily (lamp room design).
  • Record kept of users doing daily pre-use checks.
  • Method of reporting on users not doing pre-use checks.
  • Action against users not doing pre-use checks and follow up.
  • Fault reporting by users and records kept.
  • Test gases: correct concentration.
  • Test gases: not time expired.
  • Supervisors & Official in charge of lamp rooms do early and late shift checks of lamp room procedures.

Outsourcing lamp room and safety systems

While safety is a key concern, Douglas explains that mining authorities are becoming aware of the fact that it is not always one of their core competencies, “this is making outsourcing aspects of health and safety a viable, and often, far safer, option.”

One mining services provider making their presence known in the industry is Profitek’s Minelert, a South African manufacturer of modular safety systems with integrated lamp room solutions. This lamp room system monitors underground workers as they enter and exit the premises, making it easy for management to ensure that shafts are clear at the end of a shift or when specific shafts have to be cleared for explosion work. Putting these checks and controls in place requires a combination of innovative software and hardware, which is why Profitek’s Minelert makes use of Hirschmann (a Belden brand) industrial wireless technology to create the required Ethernet network infrastructure and software for its managed lamp room solutions.

Profitek’s Minelert’s safety control system for lamp rooms makes use of retrofit lamp caps fitted out with tracking tags, which are individually assigned to miners to minimize time delays throughout the access control system. Turnstiles controlling access to underground areas are programmed to identify individuals and check that all of their safety equipment (lamp, rescue pack and active tag) is in proper working order. Authorized personnel who are properly equipped are automatically allowed entry through the turnstile. Should a worker’s lamp, rescue pack or tag be missing or malfunctioning, the turnstile refuses entry and alarms the worker to return to the lamp room in order to receive correct equipment.

In a nutshell:

The traditional Lamp room has evolved from a storage unit for miners’ equipment into a verification and safety command centre for the control and monitoring, as well as reporting of personnel, safety equipment, legislated requirements and best practices in the mining industry. Beyond improving health and safety controls, these lamp room solutions creates a means of collecting and recording data, ensuring shaft visibility, aids with shaft clearance at the end of a shift as well as the identification and location of lost persons during emergencies.

PS. Would you like to know more about real-time network solutions for access control, asset monitoring and lost persons detection in surface and deep shaft mining? Download your FREE copy of our eBook on mine safety technology by clicking on the image below.

Underground Mine Safety