How Does IoT Enable Safety?

1. Mining companies focus heavily on safety. Why is that?

Millions of people employed in mining worldwide are exposed to higher safety risks than the average person. For example, 23.5 thousand workers of the Ontario mining industry were affected by over 900 injuries in 2020 alone. The number of injuries has remained stable over the past seven years, which indicates the existence of systemic safety risks even in the most developed mining jurisdictions.

2. What are the leading causes of unsafe incidents in the mining industry?

Injuries happen for a variety of reasons – from structural failures to falling objects.  According to the International Council of Mining and Metals (ICMM), most fatalities are related to mobile mining equipment and machinery used across the sector.

3. Why do these incidents happen?  

Fundamentally, there are three drivers of unsafe incidents:

The number of incidents can be reduced with the wider adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the mining industry, thanks to the advanced capabilities of this technology in the analysis of operator behaviour, control over machine health, and prevention of environmental hazards.

4. How can IoT devices prevent safety incidents related to operator behavior?

Speeding, hard-braking and sharp turning frequently cause incidents. IoT can mitigate the speeding risks by providing immediate speeding warnings to the vehicle operator and their supervisor. Accelerometer and gyroscope built in the data interfaces enable detection of negligent driving habits and help provide real-time feedback to the driver. The process can be gamified: getting a virtual reward for following the safety rules will encourage the vehicle operator to abide by them consistently.

5. What’s about better control over machine health?

IoT solutions are used to monitor complex systems that may fail, including the most advanced pieces of mining equipment. Auxiliary sensors provide the data on the condition of the critical parts of the equipment and help detect the failure before it becomes critical. Edge computing capabilities of the IoT deliver visibility into machine health and enable predictive maintenance. Along with the safety benefits, it helps to optimize the maintenance cost. Check out our 4-Sight.ai – a one-of-a-kind system that drives improvement in the safety and operation of mobile equipment.

7. How can IoT prevent environmental hazards?

IoT devices connect with environmental sensors that detect any potentially hazardous changes in surrounding conditions. For example, integrated carbon monoxide sensors will detect any leakage, and flammable gas sensors – pick up the risky concentration of methane. The data will be quickly passed to mine operators using a variety of connectivity options – from mesh network to Bluetooth – who will take rapid measures and prevent the incident.

7. Want to learn more about the IoT and its role in mining safety?

Symboticware is the leading IoT provider working with the natural resources industry. We would love to connect with you.