August 05, 2014
GE Look Ahead
How Canada made mining one of its safest heavy industries
Without good regulations, mining can be a risky profession. Accounting for 1% of global workforce yet 8% of fatal accidents in 2011, its dangers became evident this May when Turkey’s worst mining disaster left 301 miners dead and citizens enraged at perceived government neglect.
With 9.3 fatal injuries per 100k employees in mining, Canada's death toll is lower than the US’s (16.4 in 2012) or Brazil’s (21.1). Ontario, which leads the country in mining revenue, has one of the lowest lost-time injury rates in the world (0.2 per 100k employee hours).
Even for the best, safety is an ongoing process. In 2014, Ontario’s Ministry of Labour launched a review of the province’s mining health, safety and prevention regulations and practices. Multi-stakeholder consultations and 1,500+ visits of mines will be part of the review.
Automated vehicles improve safety by reducing human presence in risky environments. Collision avoidance systems (CAS), GE’s among them, also reduce accidents involving machines and humans. In 2014, GE Mining expanded its product line by acquiring CAS provider Infotronix.
In a recent EIU survey, 74% of mining executives agreed that mobile technologies help save miners’ lives. Promising new developments include “Through the Earth“ technology that enables instant signal transmission between ground level and depths of 1,000 ft or more.