Do you know when your miners forget to tag-in?

In every underground mine there is a small human error taking place that has huge consequences. The problem with this error is that if it isn’t caught, the person who made the error almost certainly won’t confess to it voluntarily. Mines all over the world are not measuring how often this error takes place, despite them being Potentially Fatal Occurrences (PFOs).

The error in question is when someone from your operation forgets to tag-in before going underground.

Research done by Lifetime Reliability on human error rates sets the benchmark for the simplest possible task as 1 in 10,000. For a mine that has at least 100 people going underground every day, that means someone is probably forgetting to tag-in at your mine at least once every 100 days. It could be more frequent, especially at mines in developing countries where safety compliance is a greater challenge.

Despite how safe your culture is, it’s human nature to make a mistake from time to time. If safety is taken very seriously at your mine, then people may be afraid to report their error out of fear of disciplinary action. If you aren’t aware of this ever happening at your mine, then you may want to seriously consider the consequences if someone is missed underground without a tag on the board during an emergency.

Many mines these days have underground location tracking systems. They use these systems to see who is actually underground in real-time. Despite having these systems in place, every mine still uses a physical tag-board as a redundant safety process to ensure reconciliation of who is underground can still be done during a power outage.

The trick here is to use a smart tag-board that tracks tag placement digitally, and integrate it with your underground real-time location tracking system (RLTS). This way, if someone appears in the RLTS when they haven’t tagged-in yet, an alarm can go off and the incident can be resolved quickly and safely. Also, these incidents can be automatically recorded and measured.

By digitizing this core safety process, you will gain new KPI’s and ensure that when these mistakes happen they are caught immediately and safely, rather than turning into PFOs.