Mining Publication: Addressing the Safety of Programmable Electronic Mining Systems: Lessons Learned
The functional safety of programmable electronic (PE) mining systems is an international issue and concern. From 1995 to 2001, 11 FE-related mining incidents in the U.S. were reported by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA); 71 FE-related mining Incidents were reported in Australia. MSHA does not have regulations for formal evaluations of the functional safety of PE mining systems. Hence, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), in partnership with MSHA and the industry, generated the NIOSH safety framework for functional safety of PE mining systems. An overview of the NIOSH framework is given; the key framework elements, the safety life cycle and safety integrity levels are detailed. The safety framework approach has impacted the national and Australian mining industries by enabling the industries to advance from an ad-hoc approach to a formalized and systematic functional safety process. In retrospect, valuable lessons were learned for addressing functional safety and for changing industry perspectives and practices. These lessons continue to benefit mining and are applicable to other industries as well.