How a proximity alert system makes mining sites safer


By Naaman Shibi, Pervidi
Tuesday, 14 February, 2023

How a proximity alert system makes mining sites safer

Proximity alert systems can help to prevent accidents and ensure safety in environments such mine sites (including underground), oil and gas exploration, and construction sites.

These systems operate by detecting the presence of people, heavy vehicles, machinery, trucks and other mobile equipment in a particular area, and issuing an alert — usually audio and visual — if they come too close to the danger zone.

The main benefit of a proximity alert system is to prevent injuries and accidents, and improve the overall safety of every mine site. These alerts can save lives, for example: in a drilling area, the proximity alert system can be used to monitor the movement of heavy machinery, ensuring workers remain a safe distance away from moving machinery or equipment. Proximity alert systems can further assist by increasing productivity and minimising downtime. By alerting workers to potential dangers, the system reduces the need for manual inspections and other interventions.

The proximity alert system typically consists of two components: a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter is usually a personal tag that is either attached to hard hats or worn by workers. Meanwhile, the receiver is usually a sensor/alarm/visual unit attached to or located in the danger zone, and constantly scans for the presence of any tags. When the receiver detects the presence of the tag within the predetermined danger zone, it triggers an alarm, alerting the operator to take necessary action.

There are different types of proximity alert systems available, each with its own unique features and capabilities. Some systems require connectivity and complex settings, while others can be set up in minutes without any dedicated infrastructure. Some systems are designed for use in harsh environments and are built to withstand extreme temperatures, vibration and dust. Others are designed for use in commercial settings and are smaller, more compact and easier to install.

Some systems will also allow dynamic alert configuration, for example: first audio alert within eight metres, second alert within five metres, first visual alert orange and second alert red. Another option is to access the proximity exposure analysis to provide reports to all stakeholders.

Regardless of the type of proximity alert system selected, it is important to ensure that the proximity alert system is properly installed and maintained. This includes testing the system regularly to ensure that it is working correctly and providing training to all stakeholders on how to use the system effectively. It is also important to choose the right system for the specific needs of the workplace and environment.

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