Underground mining operations may differ around the world, but they pose similar risks to worker health and safety. Different techniques are used to extract metals, gems, coal, and other materials, but the hazards are similar for most of these applications. According to the United States Department of Labor, Mining Health, and Safety Administration (MHSA), 70% of mining accidents in the U.S. involve using heavy machinery and other equipment at worksites.

Mining Safety Challenges and Worker Risks

According to the MHSA, the following are among the top causes contributing to accidents in 2012:

  • A lack of safety training
  • Poor hazard communication
  • Insufficient lockout/tagout precautions
  • Faulty electrical wiring
  • Improper machine guards
  • Hydraulic oil spills igniting on hot engine surfaces
  • Oil seeping into insulation covers, which poses a potential fire hazard
  • Operators burned in confined mine tunnels
  • Insulation failing to meet machine-guarding requirements

How Insulation Meets These Challenges

At Firwin, we offer insulation solutions that help to address the safety challenges posed by mining applications. These include:

  • Our MineWrap™ removable insulation blanket, which features an inner lining fabricated from stainless steel, prevents oil from being absorbed into the insulation. MineWrap’s™ exterior can be reinforced with a stainless steel mesh cover to make the blanket more resistant to punctures and the rugged underground mining environment.
  • Firwin’s Hard Coat™ composite insulation, a permanent insulation solution applied directly to the component that is being insulated. This is in contrast to MineWrap™, which is wrapped and fastened around the engine or exhaust components and can be removed and reinstalled.

Whether mining operations choose permanent or removable insulation solutions, insulation from Firwin ensures that the insulation material will be completely enclosed and shielded from exterior elements. This mitigates the dangers posed by equipment oil and fluid leaks that could otherwise seep into the insulation and pose fire hazards.

In addition, proper insulation reduces the ambient heat of diesel-powered equipment, and shields workers from burns. Using proper insulation also helps catalysts burn exhaust pollutants more effectively by maintaining the optimal high exhaust temperature as the exhaust travels along the piping.

Mining Vehicle - Minewrap Mark III and Firwin HC Insulation

Mining Vehicle – Minewrap Mark III and Firwin HC Insulation

Improved Mining Safety with Firwin

Underground mining operations inherently pose health and safety risks to the workers in the mine. Among the biggest causes of mining accidents are electrical wiring, machine-guarding, and oil seeping into insulation covers. Proper insulation is critical to safe operation, especially when used for machine-guarding.

Insulating exposed hot exhaust components is important in underground mines, but will only be effective if users select the correct insulation system. Failing to do so may add new safety concerns in the mine. Firwin’s MineWrap Removable Blankets and Hard Coat Composite Insulation are specifically designed to effectively insulate exhaust components used in mining operations in a way that addresses many of the safety hazards common among underground mining operations.

Firwin is a leading manufacturer of custom insulation products for exhaust systems, combustion engines, and an expansive range of other industrial purposes. Our main product lines include removable insulation blankets and permanent Hard Coat™ composite insulation. We are an experienced company that has been providing safe and effective insulation solutions to a wide range of industries since 1982.

In addition to providing high-quality insulation products, we are committed to offering superior customer service through product selection, sales, installation, and beyond. If you’d like more information on Firwin’s products for the mining industry, download our whitepaper. If you still have questions or would like to get more information about our services, feel free to contact us today.

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