How to Use Insulation to Increase Mining Equipment Safety

Underground mining operations may vary around the world, but they all pose the same dangers to the workers’ health and safety. Various methods are employed to extract coal, metals, gems, and other materials, but the risks are the same for the majority of applications.

70% of mining accidents in the U.S. are related to the use of heavy machinery and other equipment at worksites, according to the United States Department of Labor, Mining Health, and Safety Administration (MHSA).

Mining Safety Challenges and Worker Risks

The following causes were among the most critical in contributing to accidents in 2012 according to the MHSA:

  • Poor safety training
  • A lack of hazard communication
  • Not enough lockout or tagout precautions
  • Electrical wiring being faulty
  • Incorrect machine guards
  • Hydraulic oil spills igniting on hot engine surfaces
  • Oil seepage into insulation covers, posing a possible fire hazard
  • Operators burned in restrictive mine tunnels
  • Insulation not meeting the machine-guarding requirements.

How Insulation Meets These Challenges

Firwin provides insulation solutions that assist in addressing the safety risks presented by mining applications. These include:

  • The MineWrap™ removable insulation blanket features an inner lining fabricated from stainless steel which stops the absorption of oil by the insulation. The MineWrap™ exterior can be reinforced with a stainless steel mesh cover to increase resistance to punctures and the rugged underground mining environment.
  • The Firwin Hard Coat™ composite insulation is a permanent insulation solution applied specifically to the component that is being insulated. This is unlike MineWrap™, which is fastened and wrapped around the exhaust components or engine and can be reinstalled and removed.

If mining operations select permanent or removable insulation solutions, insulation from Firwin makes sure that the insulation material will be entirely enclosed and protected from exterior elements. This reduces the risks presented by equipment oil and fluid leaks that may otherwise seep into the insulation and create fire hazards.

Additionally, correct insulation decreases the ambient heat of equipment that is powered by diesel, and protects workers from burns. Utilizing proper insulation also assists catalysts in burning exhaust pollutants more effectively by keeping the optimal high exhaust temperature as the exhaust moves along the piping.

Mining Vehicle – Minewrap Mark III and Firwin HC Insulation

Mining Vehicle – Minewrap Mark III and Firwin HC Insulation

Improved Mining Safety with Firwin

The nature of underground mining operations creates health and safety risks to those working in the mine. Some of the key causes of mining accidents are machine-guarding, electrical wiring, and oil leaking into insulation covers. Correct insulation is essential in maintaining safe operation, particularly when utilized for machine-guarding.

While insulating exposed hot exhaust components is critical in underground mines, it will only be effective if users choose the most appropriate insulation system.

Not selecting the correct method of insulation may add new safety risks to the mine. Firwin’s MineWrap™ Removable Blankets and Hard Coat ™ Composite Insulation are designed specifically to correctly insulate exhaust components employed in mining operations to address the majority of safety risks in this application.

Image Credit: Firwin

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Firwin Corporation.

For more information on this source, please visit Firwin Corporation.


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