How Mining Companies can Improve Worker Safety with Voice and Data

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Unsafe practices in the workplaces can cost both lives and money. As a follow-up to our last post, How to Optimize the Man Down Worker Safety Feature, we wanted to provide a real-life scenario to demonstrate how this communication solution works, and to illustrate the direct correlation between safety and efficiency.

In today’s increasingly safety-conscious world, most understand the role of radio in enabling voice communications. But did you also know that modern digital radio networks can also provide data applications that increase worker safety?

Features like Man Down and Location Services, which are supported on Tait DMR Tier 3 networks, vastly improve worker safety by enabling organizations to take preemptive steps in avoiding incidents via monitoring. Should an incident occur, help can be sent more quickly resolve the issue. While worker safety is always top priority, these applications carry the added bonus of improving organizational efficiency as well. If your workers remain safe, the mine remains productive.

Man Down has its place in many different industries, but in this example we’ll look at mining. Mining presents plenty of hazards, and the industry recognizes that safety is of utmost importance. In day-to-day operations, many hazards include extreme heat, noxious fumes, heavy machinery, noise, geological movement, gas or dust explosions, and blasting. Each hazard poses a high risk to employee health if not properly monitored and controlled. An injury or safety-related incident could shut down production, resulting in large losses.

Consider this scenario:tait_i_mine-truck_v2-4

George is an experienced miner, with 20 years under his belt, so he knows the ins and outs of mining and he’s been well briefed on the best safety practices. Working alone in a low-traffic sector of the mine, George is still ten minutes from his next scheduled call-in when he feels faint and collapses to the ground.

George is lying there out of sight and in need of medical attention. It is not until almost fifteen minutes later, when dispatch sees he has missed his scheduled call and tries to radio him, that the alarm is raised. It takes another fifteen minutes for the mine’s emergency rescue team to mobilize and get to the sector where George is known to be working. By that time, however, it’s too late. George has died from a heart attack.

Consider this alternative:

George is out in the mine on his own. His DMR Tier 3 portable radio is equipped with the Tait Man Down feature combined with Location Services.

Tait man down featureWhen George collapses, the Man Down tilt sensor in the radio registers that the radio has gone beyond a certain angle, and a short timer begins counting down. Since George is unconscious and cannot move, the timer expires and the radio enters a warning state, notifying dispatch that there is a problem.

When dispatch receives the alert, they attempt to radio George and get no response. The emergency rescue team is assembledtait_i_map-on-monitor_v2-3 and dispatched. Meanwhile, dispatch views the GPS locations of other workers, and realizes that Dan is working nearby. They radio Dan to go help George, and provide him with a specific location.

Thanks to clear directions and his initial proximity to George, Dan arrives several minutes before the emergency rescue team and immediately begins CPR. George received help within 5 minutes instead of 30, and he is rescued and given medical care. Any disruption to production is minimized and thanks to the worker safety features of DMR Tier 3, the mine avoids both tragic and fiscal loss.


While this scenario imagines a mine, it is easy to picture a similar situation in any type of field where employees may work as lone workers in potentially high-hazard situations. From utilities to oil & gas to public safety, keeping your workers safe and knowing their location at all times are key ingredients to improving efficiency.location services white paper

You can read more about how Location Services can help your organization by downloading our free white paper, Location Services Over Your Radio Network. For more information on the Tait products and solutions that can increase your worker safety and efficiency, please contact us.

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