Engineering & Mining Journal

AUG 2017

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SAFETY AND TRAINING 52 E&MJ • AUGUST 2017 www.e-mj.com going in the near term (one to five sec- onds out). Many systems on the market today use range and proximity sensors that alert operators when two vehicles are approaching each other, but a system that considers proximity, speed, and bearing alone will often alarm in normal operating conditions, even though no collision risk is imminent. A common example of this is when two haul trucks on the haul route are passing each other, going in opposite directions and in different lanes. This ap- pears to be a collision risk due to the fact that the vehicles will, at some point, be in close proximity to each other, with what appears to be intersecting paths. If prox- imity, speed and general bearing are used alone in classifying the risk, the normal passing maneuver will trigger an alarm when no danger actually exists. Modular's path prediction capability enables the system to accurately differen- tiate vehicles traveling in different lanes and also determine that their paths are not likely to intersect, acting as another filter against false alarms and providing a more trustworthy warning when an alert is issued. The path prediction algorithm works with collision scenario recognition to provide a strong filtering mechanism that alerts operators only when a true risk exists. Modular's system addresses many of the most common vehicle-collision scenarios as identified by mining safety groups and the automotive and commer- cial transportation industries, including: • Forward collision warning (FCW), • Head-on collision warning (HOC), • Blind-spot warning (BSP), • Intersection movement assist (IMA), • Do not pass warning (DNPW). Multiple levels of alarms notify oper- ators of potential hazards. If an operator doesn't take corrective action after the first visual notification, more urgent, au- dible warnings will sound. One of the key differences in Modular's approach to in- forming and alarming the operator of the vehicle is the rapid end to any alarm that is no longer necessary, meaning that if an operator has taken an action to prevent a potential incident after receiving warning, both the visual and audible alarms will end automatically without requiring operator intervention. Modular's CAS dynamically recognizes changing situations and sce- narios in real time, triggering and remov- ing alarms based on operators' real-time actions. This provides immediate operator feedback about dangerous situations to better improve situational awareness. Communication is the fundamental component of any safety system, as this defines how quickly and reliably informa- tion will be passed to the end user. The MineAlert system utilizes Direct Short- Range Communications (DSRC), a high- speed, low-latency peer-to-peer commu- nications standard developed specifically for safety applications in the automotive industry. This communications technolo- gy allows timely alarms and informative warnings to reach operators without delay. DSRC is a peer-to-peer communications system, so it operates in an environment with no wireless network infrastructure, allowing for full functionality on routes in and between mines, as well as for drivers commuting to a mine site in sys- tem-equipped light vehicles. It also vir- tually guarantees long-term compatibility with future vehicle standards and regula- tions. DSRC is a standards-based safety protocol that helps ensure forward adapt- ability as vehicle technology progresses. The MineAlert CAS also leverages in- dustry-leading, standards-based connect- ed-vehicle technologies from DENSO, one of the world's largest Tier 1 suppli- ers of advanced automotive technology, systems, and components. This vehi- cle-to-vehicle communications capability pairs with Modular's own software and hardware, further enabling the CAS to help increase situational awareness and mitigate collision risks in a mine. Adopting a Holistic Philosophy Mine safety is not singular. In order to create a truly safe working environment, mines need not rely solely on a collision awareness system, but rather, look at safe- ty as a mine-wide practice. The first step toward a safe mine starts with an individu- al's competency, ability and performance: • Is the individual properly trained for the job? • Does this individual's competency and ability match the job function they have to perform? • Is the individual's performance capable of being tracked over time? If an untrained or insufficiently trained operator gets behind the wheel, there's very little that a collision aware- ness system can do to prevent a poten - tial catastrophe, so properly training the right people is an invaluable first step to site-wide mine safety. Modular's DIS- PATCH Fleet Management System, which tracks operator key performance indica- tors (KPIs) over time, can identify areas for improvement as well as allow mines to prevent operator log-in if an employee's ID is not registered as qualified for a spe- cific piece of equipment. After an individual has been thorough- ly trained and is determined to be compe- tent for his job function, the mine should assess whether or not he's fit for duty. If the best operator in the world is fatigued, or under the influence of drugs or alco- hol, he's not fit for duty, and could pose a potentially catastrophic safety risk to himself or others in the mine. Modular's system interfaces to leading fatigue-man- agement software, helping to identify an operator's declining alertness before it re- sults in collision. The most important component of mine safety comes in the form of situa- tional awareness. Safe operators must be aware of everything around them, which can be tricky in a dynamic mine environ- ment. Even a well-qualified, fit operator cannot avoid unknown risk. The ultimate goal of the MineAlert CAS is to increase operators' situational awareness. To meet this goal, the system's display unit uses simple, easy-to-identify symbols and only alerts operators when necessary, via near-instant communications. Procedural compliance is also very important to overall mine safety. All mine sites undoubtedly establish safety pro- cedures, but how do they know if those procedures are really being followed? By interfacing to Modular's DISPATCH FMS, the MineAlert Collision Awareness System is able to use the FMS tools to determine whether or not the equipment operators are following the mine's safety rules. Lastly, the mine equipment itself must be safe for operation. Tools available in the DISPATCH FMS, as well as Modular's MineCare Maintenance Management solu- tion, can monitor an entire fleet in real time, allowing maintenance personnel to identify potential issues before they be- come expensive, dangerous catastrophes. This article was written by Alyssa Wedler, marketing communications specialist; and Edward Bardo global sales manager–safety systems) at Modular Mining Systems Inc.

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