Mining Publication: Preventing Collisions Involving Surface Mining Equipment: A GPS-based Approach
An average of three workers a year are killed in surface mining operations when a piece of haulage equipment collides with another smaller vehicle or a worker on foot. Another three workers are killed each year when haulage equipment backs over the edge of a dump point or stockpile. Devices to monitor the blind areas of mining equipment are needed to provide a warning to operators when a vehicle, person, or change in terrain is near the equipment. A proximity warning system (PWS) based on the global positioning system (GPS) and peer-to-peer communication has been developed to prevent collisions between mining equipment, small vehicles, and stationary structures. A final system was demonstrated using one off-highway haul truck, three smaller vehicles, and various stationary structures at a surface mining operation. The system successfully displayed the location of nearby vehicles and stationary structures and provided visual and audible warnings to the equipment operator when they were within a preset distance. Many surface mining operations already use GPS technology on their mobile equipment for tracking and dispatch. Our tests have shown that it is feasible to add proximity warning to these existing systems as a safety feature. Larger scale and long-term tests are needed to prove the technology adequately. A PWSs that incorporates a combination of technologies could significantly reduce accidents that involve collisions or driving over an edge at surface mining operations.