Companies across the world are continuing to rely on mining-based commodities and goods such as silver, copper, zinc, aluminum and more. Even still, Colin Thurston, Thermo Fisher Scientific's director of product strategy for process industries, wrote on Australian Mining that the industry sees pressure with the new opportunities that come, including keeping workers and employees safe in these mines. Technology such as preventive predictive maintenance and equipment maintenance software should be used by companies to help make sure they are striking a balance between profitability and safety.
"With mining already a high-risk endeavor that demands the measurement of human and environmental exposure to toxins and contaminants, it is essential that modern mining operations are equipped with the tools to help them manage and monitor their internal and external processes effectively," Thurston said. "In order to assure the quality/certification of products, optimize the efficiency and throughput of continuous processes and comply with industry,international or governmental product and safety standards, the modern mine must control its processes with rigorous testing and real-time monitoring."
Laboratory information management systems can be key to not only keeping workers safe, but making sure productivity is being driven to its highest potential by taking care of documentation, instrument collaboration and mining monitoring. The ability of managers to be able to take this information and utilize it to make the industry more safe is essential, as there will always be personnel changes and equipment that falls out of collaboration. Consistent management can be used to help ensure everything stays the course from project to project.
Examples of where technology can help
Mining-Technology said one area where a mining monitor system can help is dust buildup during a project, as it could cause some health issues that may be harmful for workers. The explosive nature of coal dust and the harmful effects to the respiration system could be dangerous, but there are new monitors to help give workers something that will detect when there is too much dust before it is too late.
Thurston said the future of the mining industry depends on tools like this to help strike the balance between the preservation of environments and profitability. Especially as demand starts to grow, companies will need to become more cognizant of worker safety and how they can protect sites, communities and the families of employees from death or injury.