Mining Product: Best Practices and Bolting Machine Innovations for Roof Screening
Rock falls in coal mines cause many injuries each year. Most of these injuries are not caused by major roof collapses, but from falls of smaller rocks from the immediate top or roof skin. Even though safety professionals and mine operators strive to reduce these types of injuries, there has not been a substantial decrease in the rock fall injury rate over the past decade. Various surface controls are used in mines to control the roof skin. One control that has proven to be very effective is roof screening. Roof screen effectively controls roof skin and provides a high roof surface coverage. Although many mines are reluctant to use screen for primary skin control because of the additional costs of time and materials, others are having great success at controlling both the costs and surface rock. In this study, injury data are presented that show a dramatic reduction in roof skin injuries when screening is used. Much of this success is due to the protection from falling rock that the operators receive from roof screen. Five case studies in which roof screen was used are presented along with the associated costs of materials, impact on bolting advance rates, and potential ergonomic risks. The effects of roof screening on skin control and safety are also included. Finally, this paper provides information about best practices and features of roof bolting machines that affect production and safety.