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Design of intelligent proximity detection zones to prevent striking and pinning fatalities around continuous mining machines

Transactions of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration , 2016, Vol. 340, No. 1, pp. 75-81

Bissert, P.T.; Carr, J.L.; DuCarme, J.P.; Smith, A.K.



The continuous mining machine is a key piece of equipment used in underground coal mining operations. Over the past several decades these machines have been involved in a number of mine worker fatalities. Proximity detection systems have been developed to avert hazards associated with operating continuous mining machines. Incorporating intelligent design into proximity detection systems allows workers greater freedom to position themselves to see visual cues or avoid other hazards such as haulage equipment or unsupported roof or ribs. However, intelligent systems must be as safe as conventional proximity detection systems. An evaluation of the 39 fatal accidents for which the Mine Safety and Health Administration has published fatality investigation reports was conducted to determine whether the accident may have been prevented by conventional or intelligent proximity. Multiple zone configurations for the intelligent systems were studied to determine how system performance might be affected by the zone configuration. Researchers found that 32 of the 39 fatalities, or 82 percent, may have been prevented by both conventional and intelligent proximity systems. These results indicate that, by properly configuring the zones of an intelligent proximity detection system, equivalent protection to a conventional system is possible.