New safety resource for coal industry

UNDERGROUND coal operators now have a new tool to help in their quest for electrical safety.

Vivienne Ryan

A database of intrinsic safety information has been released by Queensland’s Safety in Mines Testing and Research Station in CD form.

Underground coal mines contain methane and other flammable gases and a spark from electrical equipment could cause an explosion. Intrinsic safety is a protection technique for the safe operation of electronic equipment in explosive atmospheres.

SIMTARS engineering, testing and certification manager James Birch told ILN the database would make sourcing information on intrinsic safety easier.

“It is a compilation of articles, books, information that will assist anybody that makes use of intrinsic safety in some way,” Birch said. It contains a library of articles associated with intrinsic safety for underground coal operators.

The database has a search function for keywords, title, abstract and author for articles written on safety techniques.

The CDs will be updated annually and are not available online yet, but SIMTARS did not rule it out for the future.

One example includes an article on improving the safety of those working in the vicinity of a mobile plant. It was associated with intrinsic safety because the mobile plant would have control systems which would need to be monitored for their safety.

SIMTARS director Paul Harrison said the Australian Coal Association Research Program funded the database after earlier research found there was a need for knowledge on intrinsic safety in the industry.

“It was a difficult and time-consuming for industry to obtain earlier published information on intrinsic safety because companies changed names, were amalgamated and some information went astray,” Harrison said.

The report and the database is available for download from the ACARP web site www.acarp.com.au

The project is called the Development of a Database on Intrinsic Safety Information.

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