SHEQ MANAGEMENT was at Electra Mining Africa to bring you this year’s health, safety and environmental highlights.

Local manufacturers and distributors of safety devices, personal protective equipment (PPE) and environmental-management solutions were out in full force.

There were more than 850 exhibitors at this year’s show with many having been present before. When speaking to the exhibitors, a common theme soon became apparent. Exhibitors said they keep coming back to Electra Mining Africa because of the high calibre of visitors. This often translates directly into sales.

Health and safety

In mining the objective is to reduce or eliminate sound, dust and other environmental dangers to a level where they do not pose a danger to workers. Within this context, much of the machinery on show had some element of safety consciousness built in.

During the show, I-CAT Environmental Solutions launched a misting system, specifically designed for fire and dust suppression on coal mines. The company demonstrated how the system is able to reduce dust emissions by as much as 90 percent at a coal mine in Mpumalanga.

On the other side of the spectrum, Aury Africa unveiled its fully automated dry-sorting technology – an environmentally friendly alternative to standard water-based sorters.

PPE

It wasn’t long ago when safety equipment wasn’t made with comfort in mind, and it wasn’t uncommon for employees to throw their safety equipment aside in the interest of getting the job done.

Fabian Denson, product sourcing and quality director at Select PPE, said: “This is why the industry has moved to make safety equipment something employees want to wear rather than have to wear.” The Select PPE stand looked like a festival of colour, which included pink helmets, colourful safety bibs and more. The goal is to make PPE more stylish, better fitting and easier to use.

Denver Berman-Jacob, executive director at Sweet-Orr, said: “In the past, women had to make do with using men’s workwear. Despite being uncomfortable, it is dangerous to have loose-fitting clothes around machinery. We have done a lot of work to develop a product portfolio tailored specifically for women.”

Mechanisation and automation

During the show, much effort was made to promote the advancement of mechanisation, digitisation and automation. According to exhibitors, adopting modern technology is no longer a choice; it is needed to remain globally competitive. It can help address problems related to productivity, while improving labour relations and worker safety.

Telematics and tracking

Telematics is used to track the movement of assets and keep tabs on operations, but it can also be used to track people as they move through their workspaces. In the mining industry, on top of improving productivity, if someone doesn’t return to the surface, digital tracking can be used to locate and rescue them if necessary. 

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