A new fiber optic based lighting for mining equipment has been proposed in a partnership between RSL Fiber Systems, LLC and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The new system will help reduce struck-by and pinning accidents. in mines. Currently, man/machine collisions are the leading type of accidents inside mines. Workers are often struck or pinned by mobile machinery in mines.
Between January 2010 and June 2012, 85 miners had been injured by being struck by mobile equipment. There were 8 fatalities and 26 permanently partially or totally disabled workers as a result of these accidents. The other fifty-one of the accidents caused injuries and/or lost time on the job. The types of machinery involved in these accidents included continuous miners, shuttle cars, ramcars, mantrips, and scoops. It is believed that using fiber optic based lighting could provide an extra layer of safety inside mines where these injuries are so prevalent.
Fiber Optic Based Lighting To Be Integrated Into Warning Systems
RSL Fiber Systems manufactures a fiber optic based lighting product that provides outlining illumination, The lighting will be integrated into a visual warning system prototype designed by NIOSH. The illumination product is based on technology that RSL originally developed for use on U.S. Navy warships. RSL also produces distributed temperature monitoring systems and methane gas sensing systems for mining operations. They are a market leader in advanced remote source fiber optic based lighting systems and comprehensive engineering services for both military and commercial markets.
RSL will produce custom high-output systems that will fit various types of mining equipment, improving visibility and safety. The dynamic lighting patterns of the fiber optics outlining the mining machines and transport equipment will help improve workers’ ability to detect machine motions and react to avoid collisions. The fiber optic cable will be affixed to equipment surfaces, creating an outline of the equipment which will increase its visibility in the dark environments of mines. The color, frequency, and other visual cues of the lights will be configured to meet the needs of the environment.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has approved the outlining illumination product, and it is ready to be installed in both permissive and non-permissive environments. The product will be used on scoops, shuttle cars, roof bolters, and continuous mining machines.