Anyone involved in mining and construction shares a simple goal: – ensure that at the end of the shift everyone returns home safely and in good health. The failure to provide a safe facility will have very serious financial consequences to an operator.
A significant challenge in mining at night time is providing adequate lighting for mine workers to work safely. A mine is a dynamic environment, with dust, confined spaces, and surfaces that reflect light poorly and offer low visual contrasts. It is the most difficult environment to illuminate according to the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA).
Lighting is critical to mine workers since they depend heavily on visual cues to see fall of ground, pinning and striking hazards, and slipping and tripping hazards. Consequently, illumination greatly affects mine workers’ ability to perform their jobs safely.
Illumination technology with light emitting diodes (LEDs) is revolutionising the industry.
White LEDs are achieving about 110 lm/W in comparison to, in general, about 15 lm/W for an incandescent bulb. They are robust because they do not have a glass envelope or filament that can break, and they can provide useful light in excess of 50,000 hours of operation as compared to about 1000 to 3000 hours for an incandescent bulb.
Research by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) indicates that light emitting diodes (LEDs) can be used to enhance safety by improving a miner’s ability to see mining hazards and reducing glare. LEDs provide another benefit by reducing miner exposure to hazards during maintenance and operation of LED lighting.
The provision of adequate illumination to ensure a safe visual working environment is particularly difficult to meet in mining operations. Hence, a scientific approach is required to achieve better compliance with illumination standards specified by various regulatory bodies.
In general, vision is influenced by three main lighting design parameters: illuminance level of the surface, uniformity of light distribution and glare from sources. Luminous intensity of light source takes care of illuminance levels on visual tasks, whereas uniform distribution pattern of light depends on the technological aspects like luminaire layout, aiming angle and positioning of the light sources.
To help address these problems, we advise our clients to commission a detailed Illumination Survey.
The Survey is prepared by qualified Lighting Engineers using cutting edge software to aid in the analysis of the visibility and illumination aspects of your entire operation and to assess the existing light levels including mining equipment and haul roads.
The results of the analysis will reveal whether the operations are fully compliant with all relevant local occupational health and safety standards and mine regulations in respect to lighting.
We use the conclusions of the report to suggest improvement measures, with a suitable design plan for an upgraded illumination system and proposed modifications to lights already in use.