Electrical Safety 101

Electrical Mining Equipment: 4 Safety Checks You Should Undertake

by David Hart

Electrical equipment faces or creates numerous safety risks when it is used in a mine. These risks can be reduced by conducting frequent safety checks on the electrical equipment and its environment. This article discusses some of the checks that can help you to prevent some of the electrical accidents that can occur in your mine.

Check the Temperature of the Equipment

Some mines may have combustible gases or dust in the atmosphere. It is imperative to check the exterior components of the electrical equipment to confirm that those components have a temperature that is less than what would be sufficient to trigger the combustible gas or dust to catch fire. A safe temperature level would be about a third of the combustion point of that dust or gas. Fix any defects, such as loose connections, which can cause the exterior component to become so hot that it triggers a fire. For more information on mining equipment, contact a local business.

Check the Coolants Used

Some electrical mining equipment may rely on oil for cooling, arc prevention and insulation. Such oil may pose major fire hazards in an underground mine. Your periodic equipment checks should entail replacing any such oil with a synthetic fluid that has been engineered for the equipment, such as switchgear. Such synthetic fluids are less prone to catching fire in case an accident occurs.

Crosscheck Component Compatibility

Another risk factor is the coupling of electrical components, such as plugs and sockets, which aren't compatible with electrical equipment. Such coupling can increase the risk of overheating while those incompatible items are being used during mining operations. Regular checks to identify such cases of incompatibility should be conducted. Alternatively, you can use keyway codes to show how to match the different components, this prevents a part from being coupled with another part that it is incompatible with.

Update Schematics

It is also necessary to check how current the schematics of the electrical system and equipment within the mine is. Updated schematics are helpful in guiding those who maintain or modify the electrical system so that they avoid making a potentially deadly mistake in the course of their work. Accurate schematics also guide personnel about which zones require extra precautions due to the presence of sensitive electrical equipment.

Accidents and emergencies cannot be ruled out completely by taking the measures in the discussion above. Take the extra step of working with an experienced electrician so that you can develop a plan of how to deal with damaged electrical equipment or emergency situations that may occur within your mine.