Prioritize people in PDS installations: Booyco

As the implementation of proximity detection systems (PDS) takes center stage at surface mining operations in South Africa ahead of the yet-to-be-announced compliance deadline of Chapter 8 of the country’s Mine Health and Safety Act (1996), Booyco Electronics urges equal impetus be given to both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-people installations. 

Despite the uncertainty around the exact deadline, Booyco said that in recent years surface mines have advanced their risk assessments and installation of PDS technology. However, CEO Anton Lourens is concerned about the seemingly one-sided focus on vehicle-to-vehicle installations.

“We see a big focus on vehicle-to-vehicle risk, with limited requests for the people protection aspect of PDS installations,” said Lourens. “We are not sure if the approach is informed by internal risk assessments or the fact that mines have put in place measures to separate people from machines.”

As part of their risk assessments, several mining operations have, as an example, implemented pedestrian walkways as a means of separating people from moving machinery. While Lourens acknowledged that PDS technology is not a silver bullet on the quest for “Zero Harm,” he believes that, as an engineering control system, the technology has proven its mettle in mitigating risk at mines.

“We have seen operations opting for fixed barriers as part of their traffic management plans to separate people from machinery,” said Lourens. “Separating people from moving machinery only mitigates part of the risk, yet the PDS can warn against possible collisions (Level 7), identify corrective paths (Level 8), or implement a ‘slow-down and stop’ intervention together with ‘motion inhibit’ (Level 9), which makes it a better solution than physical barriers.”

South African-based Booyco Electronics specializes in the development and supply of electronic safety products.

Source: Booyco Electronics

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