An improved method for mine hoist risk assessments using a quantitative approach

Technical Innovation that Supports Health and Safety


Francis, Lacasse; Alonso, Morey

Mine hoists are used for transporting people, material and ore between the mine underground levels and the surface in various conditions and environments. Over the years, they have evolved from fully manually operated machines to fully automated machines using complex control systems and automation technologies striving for seamless operation and increased safety. As the conditions, requirements and regulations can vary significantly between regions, selecting and designing mine hoist control system’s safety functions suitable for a specific operation has many challenges. Unlike other industries where the design of the products is exclusively managed by the manufacturing companies and the end-users are minimally involved or completely excluded from the process, the design of a given hoist control system benefits widely from the participation of all stakeholders in a project. In order to achieve the appropriate safety level for the machine, performing a proper risk assessment with the right method while involving the right people is key. This will ensure the risk reduction measures are clearly identified and can be acted on as well as implemented. It is also of primary importance to consider the tolerability to risk to be applied to the machine and the environment where it is operating. This tolerability is to be defined by the industry in general, the personnel as well as the company management. This tolerance to risk will eventually dictate the risk reduction levels required for specific hazards and eventually the measures to be put in place to achieve it. This presentation will discuss the benefits of an international functional safety standards-based, systematic and quantitative risk assessment methodology to be applied for mine hoists. Through the analysis of certain hazards and hazardous events examples, the presenters will demonstrate how this approach, through higher levels of objectivity and quantifiability of risk as well as better ownership of the process by the end-users, results in cost reductions, better overall safety coverage and respect of the company’s and industry’s risk tolerance. Based on their experience and know-how, the presenters will explain how this process and its results fit the global trends of this industry’s safety requirements and will expand on the ongoing evolution of the requirements of the regulatory bodies, end-users and manufacturers.
Keywords: CIMBC22