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Mine Collapses in North America

Mine collapses in North America

Carroll Technologies reviews some of the worst mine collapses in North America.

Avery Island salt mine roof collapse 


On December 14, 2020, the roof of the Avery Island salt mine operated by Cargill collapsed, resulting in Rene Romero, 41, and Lance Begnaud, 27, losing their lives. 

The mine was shut down immediately after the incident while rescue efforts were underway, and it was permanently closed six weeks later.  

The widows of the miners who lost their lives filed lawsuits, citing that known roof collapse hazards were ignored, mining regulations were not followed, and specifically that the two men were killed during a failed attempt to preserve profitable salt mining operations at the mine. The Cargill salt mine roof collapse is a prime example of the importance of listening to safety inspectors, and the catastrophic consequences if operators do not have adequate procedures in place. 

Donkin mine roof collapse 


Fortunately, the series of roof collapses at Donkin mine in Cape Breton did not result in any workers being injured. However, the operator, Kameron Coal, was fined $2,000 for an accumulation of combustible coal dust and a further $2,000 for failing to implement a safety plan that “may have provided an indication that the roof strata were exhibiting signs of potential failure.” 

As mining excavations go deeper, the focus on rock support to prevent roof and floor failure has never been more important. The failure of hard roof strata can be the most violent dynamic instability event in underground longwall mining. 

Marshall County mine roof collapse 


In 2015, one worker, John Garloch, 45, was killed and two others were injured in a coal mine roof collapse at the McElroy Mine in Marshall County, West Virginia. The incident was attributed to a “rib roll”. In underground mines, the walls or sides of travel ways are referred to as ribs and need to be secured.  

According to Lima Ohio news: “MSHA inspectors have issued 189 citations to the mine for alleged violations that included coal dust accumulation, hazardous conditions, noise exposure levels, air quality and other safety issues. The mine received 970 citations in 2014.” 

Carroll Technologies provides a range of high-quality Simplified Mining Instruments (SMI) ground movement monitoring devices to help prevent mine roof collapses within North America. Their product range includes the Sag Flag Roof Monitor which is used as a solid early warning system for ground control management, and the SMI Miner’s Bore Hole Camera for the inspection of boreholes. Contact us to discuss your mine safety requirements.

View the SMI Sag Flag early warning and ground control management system installation

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Fall Protection

Fall protection equipment on industrial oil rig

Industrial Fall Protection 

Finding the right industrial fall protection equipment can be a challenge, so many industries turn to safety experts for advice on what solutions are best suited for their needs. Carroll Technologies have more than 40 years of experience helping more than 800 US mines and other industries as a consultant and supplier of the best fall protection solutions for many industries, including mining and tunnelling, energy, power and utilities industries and offshore, oil and gas industries. 

Carroll supplies a broad range of industry-leading equipment from trusted manufacturers such as MSA and Honeywell Safety, with offerings such as harnesses, hooks and shock-absorbing lanyards.

Through its online store, Carroll also offers a range of high-quality ropes and hoists to keep workers secure. Fall protection equipment available through Carroll Technologies includes: 

  • MSA retractable lanyards 
  • MSA vest-style harnesses 
  • MSA full-body harnesses 
  • MSA lanyard restraints 
  • MSA trauma prevention 
  • MSA lanyards with hooks 
  • Honeywell Miller AirCore harnesses 
  • Honeywell personal fall limiter 

MSA energy-absorbing lanyard keeps fall arrest forces below 6kN, while the restraint lanyards are designed to be placed between the anchor point and the harness to prevent workers from dropping into the fall area. 

Honeywell provides a new generation of full protection solutions under its Miller brand. The light-weight Miller AirCore harnesses are manufactured from corrosion-resistant aluminium and breathable open-core padding to allow for optimal airflow, as well as reduced heat and moisture entrapment.  

Developing a Fall Prevention Plan for Industry 

Over the past ten years, 29 miners have lost their lives after they fell from an area where they worked. Having a fall prevention plan in place, in addition to high-quality equipment, is the best way to ensure that these tragedies are not repeated. 

MSHA makes a number of suggestions when it comes to best practices for developing a fall prevent plan for industry, including providing mobile or stationary platforms at locations where there is risk of falling. 

Industries should also assign a safety harness and lanyard to any miner who works at an elevated height, and they must have a stable and secure anchor point for the lanyards to be attached to, which should be regularly inspected. MSHA also recommends physical barriers around all floor openings. 

For areas where fall protection equipment is required there should be visible signage, and work areas and tasks should be designed to minimize fall hazards. 

Fall Protection Equipment for the Water Industry

Due to the common requirement for use of heavy machinery in the water industry, – for example, such as when digging tunnels for pipelines – ensuring adequate fall protection for workers is vital. Fall protection systems ensure that staff working at heights – such as on tall machinery or structures – are kept safe from the potentially life-threatening injuries associated with falling from large heights. These systems allow for safe engineering and construction work to take place within the water industry, ensuring operational efficiency and productivity.

Compliance standards for industrial fall protection 


Safety regulation 56/57.11001 indicates that a safe means of access should be provided and maintained to all working places. 56/57.15005 states that safety belts and lines should be worn when there is a danger of falling, and a second person shall tend the lifeline when bins, tanks, or other dangerous areas are entered. 

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Renewable Energy Safety Equipment

Bird's eye view of wind farm

Wind farm safety equipment 

Both onshore and offshore wind farms will require guard rails, safety nets, and personal fall protection equipment (such as lanyards and harnesses) to keep workers safe when they climb turbines. Hard hats are also necessary if there is a risk of equipment or debris falling. 

Inside the turbine, workers are restricted to confined spaces, where exit routes should be clearly marked. Additionally, during the manufacturing of wind turbine blades, workers may be exposed to dust or harmful gases, so they must be protected by a reliable ventilation system and the use of protective personal equipment (PPE) such as respirators and gas detection devices. 

Offshore wind farms are generally more dangerous environments, requiring non-slip foot and handwear, as well as ear protection. Wind farms may also utilise personnel tracking systems or man-down radio functions to keep track of worker safety in remote offshore areas. 

Solar farm safety equipment 

Solar panels are heavy and may be installed on elevated areas or rooves. Personnel need to be supplied with fall protection equipment and reliable PPE, as well as adequate training, to keep them safe. 

Electrical safety may also be a concern, so shock risk assessments need to be carried out. In addition to safety measures such as circuit breakers, personnel should be equipped with insulated tools, voltage-rated gloves, and provided with safety training.

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Offshore Oil Rig Safety Equipment

panoramic view of an offshore oil and gas rig

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, vehicle accidents, being struck by or caught between equipment, fires, falls, and chemical exposures are just some of the hazards that workers face at oil rigs. In fact, the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries declared that between 2013 and 2017, 489 oil and gas extraction workers lost their lives on the job.

Keeping workers safe is the key priority, and the industry continues to develop new and innovative oil rig safety equipment to manage hazardous offshore environments.

Oil rig safety systems

From loud, heavy equipment to hazardous elevated platforms, it is essential to continually monitor remote oil rig sites and provide reliable communication, hazard detection and alarm systems.

Flammable gases and spark-producing equipment can be a deadly combination, so oil rigs require rugged fire and gas detection systems with sensors and alarms, as well as integrated safety and emergency management systems, to ensure complete control and visibility.

Surveillance cameras such as closed-circuit television (CCTV) are used for machine monitoring as well as an anti-piracy deterrent. At oil rigs, they are used to monitor pumping and control rooms and to keep all areas of the platform secure.

Communication is always key, and oil rigs require rugged intercom and radio communication systems to keep in contact, as well as be alerted to any potential danger. Oil rigs also utilize technology for personnel tracking systems such as satellite-based location tracking with GPS for collision avoidance and tracking personnel to ensure that they do not enter danger zones or off-limit areas.

Offshore oil rig safety gear

Personal protection equipment at oil rigs needs to be rugged, reliable and durable. Oil rig hard hats, such as NLT cap lamps, can incorporate LED technology, as well as proximity and tracking tags.

Similar to mining and construction equipment, oil rig safety boots and safety clothing needs to be manufactured from rugged materials, providing reliable protection as well as comfort. Companies such Protective Industrial Products (PIP USA) offer an extensive range of custom-made safety solutions such as hearing protection, protective clothing, respiratory safety, warning beacons, welding protection, electrical safety and fall protection, as well as extensive eye, foot, hand and head protection.

Slips and falls are one of the main causes of injury at oil rig sites. Reliable fall protection is essential for keeping workers safe, and the industry offers a broad range of equipment, from high-quality harnesses and sturdy hooks to shock-absorbing lanyards.

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How Efficient Underground Communication Ensures Miners’ Safety and Increases Productivity

mining equipment being monitored by tarcking

Communication in the mining industry

Communication requires connectivity, whether it’s WiFi, leaky feeder systems, 4G/5G, or GPS. Naturally, this is much easier to achieve for above-ground operations and surface mines, where mines can rely on radios and collision avoidance systems to manage productivity and safety.

Things get more difficult when it comes to underground mining, especially with many mining excavations going deeper. It wouldn’t be feasible to reply on standard radio technology so deep underground, and satellite-based positioning systems won’t function. This is where communication in the mining industry has developed innovative solutions to ensure that teams underground are in continuous, reliable communication with the surface and each other.

Underground communication

Mining fixed phones and radios that function underground will typically require an underground leaky feeder network to stay connected. Communication systems developed specifically for the mining industry will feature benefits such as man-down/no-movement detection for lone worker safety, and a rugged enclosure so that it can work effectively in an environment.

The Pyott-Boone Electronics (PBE) Page BossTM mine page phone series offers some of the most advanced and rugged communications solutions for underground mining available on the market. The company has continued to become an industry leader in the mining sector since its founding in 1971, with acquisitions such as Minecom and Mine Radio Systems Inc (MRS).

Communication underground does not need to be compromised. PBE’s Leaky Feeder System can be customized for a mine’s requirements to ensure that radio coverage and data communication is optimised, ensuring maximized productivity and safety. PBE two-way radio systems, including fixed phones and handheld radios, offer complete communication coverage at mining sites, both above and below ground.

The Page Boss series is comprised of a broad portfolio of communication solutions offering different features suitable for different areas of a mine, which can be combined to build an extensive and comprehensive communication network.

All providing clear and undistorted communication even underground, PBE offers products such as the Model 112 page phone, which features a sounder strobe for increased audible and visual alerts in noisy working areas, the model 111 Page Boss with a bullhorn speaker, and the waterproof Model 117 Page Boss, as well as the model 140 Page Boss with a touch-tone keypad that can make calls through the Model 139 phone coupler or operate as a standard 12 VDC paging phone.

Underground communication solution distributors

There are a lot of mining communication solutions on the market, so finding the most effective and suitable product for each area of a mine can be a challenge. As experts in mining safety, Carroll Technologies has searched the market for only the best quality communication solutions and works with customers to meet the specific requirements of their mine.

PBE turnkey products are available through Carroll Technologies’ online mining store, and for customized communication solutions Carroll is well-positioned to offer independent advice about which products are best suited to a particular application.

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GPS and the Mining Industry

application of gps in the mining indutry

Location tracking GPS in mining

Satellite-based location tracking with GPS reduces the time surveyors need to spend in the field in vulnerable locations and enables the central control station to always know the location of each vehicle in the fleet. Continual tracking means that the location of vehicles can be constantly monitored, making it easier to track and record incidents, manage operations, and prevent hazards.

Collision avoidance and proximity alert systems may use GPS in addition to other tracking methods so that vehicles and personnel are always protected at any part of the mine, even if one tracking method fails. The collision avoidance system from PBE uses EM (electromagnetics), RFID, GPS and bi-directional radar for accuracy that can be configured to recognise different groups (such as vehicle types or personnel). The GPS receiver allows for surface tracking and defining site Geofencing.

Geofencing allows mines to set virtual perimeters, such as blast zones, emergency areas, no-go zones, and monitoring speed limits. Operators are able to monitor when personnel or vehicles enter various areas of a mine, as well as set up automated notifications for situations such as a worker accidentally entering a blast zone.

Underground GPS tracking

GPS has become more widely used for open-pit and surface mines. As GPS devices cannot receive direct line-of-site access to satellites underground, solutions such as leaky feeder communication systems and radio frequency identification (RFID) are typically used. Providing real-time tracking will usually involve using a redundant system, such as PBE’s collision avoidance system, that utilises GPS along with other technologies for full coverage.

Carroll Technologies is ideally positioned to provide custom installation of collision avoidance systems and offers factory-authorized repair and certification, as well as rapid response for mining emergencies, expert around the clock technical support, an extensive spare parts inventory, and training for equipment from major manufacturers.

For more information about collision avoidance systems or PBE equipment, call Carroll Technologies on 606-573-1000 or send an enquiry here.

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Mining Slurry Technology for Treating Industrial Wastewater

a miner inspecting flood water levels in an underground mine

Huge volume of water is used during mining operations, and as metals are processed this water becomes contaminated. Mining wastewater is often highly acidic, and if not dealt with properly it can lead to groundwater contamination and acid runoff from drainage, which can have a devastating impact the local environment and watercourses.

Mining wastewater can be treated with pH adjuster chemicals to control excess acidity, or flocculants and coagulants that make contaminants clump together so that they are easier to remove. Sludge dewatering entails removing any excess water from sludge using mining slurry pumps to create a solid waste so that it can be more easily managed, transported and disposed of.

Mining slurry pumps

There are many self-priming mining slurry pumps and centrifugal pumps on the market. Choosing the right mining slurry pump is not just about finding the most effective product, as mining rarely has one-size-fits-all solutions. With different pumps being required for different applications across a mine, it is a challenge in itself to find the most suitable solutions.

Carroll Technologies has more than 40 years of experiencing helping its customers at more than 800 US mines build a dewatering system that works best for their mine. In collaboration with Equipment Pro, industry-leaders in mining pumping solutions, Carroll supports customers to find mining slurry pumps best suited for the application.

Mining slurry pump manufacturers

With an impressive portfolio of field-proven rugged vertical turbine pumps that have been used to pump slurry across US mines, Equipment Pro designs, retrofits and builds complete mining slurry pump facilities.

Reducing the environmental impact of mining facilities is a key priority, so Equipment Pro offers its no-seal pump that features a unique pressure break area and slinger, which confines leakage to the area below the discharge head. Not only does this eliminate the potential for fluid contamination, it also means that no external lubricants are needed as all bearings and parts are lubricated by the fluid being pumped.

Purchasing mining slurry pumps through a trusted distributor such as Carroll not only means that customers benefit from expert advice, but training is offered for a number of Carroll’s products to ensure that operators are up-to-date and pumping systems are running as they should.

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MSHA Powered-Haulage Regulations: All You Need to Know

Honeywell mine safety product solutions

What are the new MSHA safety regulations on powered haulage?

The Mine Safety and Health Administration, Department of Labor (MSHA) has published the final rule regarding the Safety Program for Surface Mobile Equipment, which will be effective as of January 19, 2024. The rule summary states that “mine operators develop, implement, and update, periodically or when necessary, a written safety program for surface mobile equipment (excluding belt conveyors) at surface mines and surface areas of underground mines. The written safety program must be developed and updated with input from miners and their representatives. The written safety program must include actions mine operators will take to identify hazards and risks to reduce accidents, injuries, and fatalities related to surface mobile equipment. The final rule offers mine operators flexibility to devise a safety program that is appropriate for their specific mining conditions and operations.

In September 2022, MSHA proposed a safety program rule as part of several steps to reduce injuries involving surface mobile equipment.

Rule 86 FR 50496 would improve the safe usage of mobile and powered-haulage equipment at surface mines and surface areas of underground mines by requiring mine operators that employ six or more miners to design a written safety program. Programs would include actions to identify hazards, with MSHA also encouraging the provision of training that covers risk identification and mitigation.

The original deadline for comments was November 8, 2021.

Comments were supportive, with opinions differing on whether the weight of safety programs should focus on technologies (such as proximity detectors) or behavioral and cultural changes.

Most commenters noted that the application of engineering controls or technologies such as collision avoidance systems needs further review by MSHA and the National Institute for Occupational before any regulatory changes are made. This includes acknowledging that the issues MSHA raised vary at different mines and with different types of equipment, so it is critical to understand how specific hazards at a mine would be addressed through new technologies. Additionally, commenters emphasise the importance of communicating with stakeholders and miners.

A mining coalition commented that comprehensive safety programs are essential, with or with new technology, because human factors are a major contributor to accidents. It also noted that programs perform better when mine operators develop and implement their own safety programs.

MSHA reopened the rulemaking record for public comments and held a virtual public hearing on the proposed rule on Jan 11, 2022. The comment period was extended until February 11.

When do the MSHA safety regulations on powered haulage come into force?

The rule will come into effect as of January 19, 2024, and mine operators will need to meet the requirements of the proposed rule six months after the effective date of the final rule. This means that mine operators have until July 17, 2024 which is when the compliance date has been set for.

Who is affected by the MSHA safety regulations on power haulage?

All US mines that employ six or more miners will be required to submit a written safety program for surface mobile equipment that includes four types of actions that operators would take to reduce accidents, injuries, and fatalities.

What should you do to ensure you are compliant with the new MSHA safety regulations on powered haulage?

Powered haulage safety guidance provided by MSHA outlines best practices for improving visibility, communication, traffic management, seat belt use, dumping practices, equipment guards, working around belt conveyors and crossover safety.

According to Carroll Technologies president, Allen Haywood: “Designing a safety program could include things such as designated areas, as well as warnings of equipment and personnel being active, possibly with the use signage. There are different ways that each operation can come up with a plan to help the safety aspect of collisions with personnel or equipment.”

How can Carroll Technologies Group help?

Through Carroll Technologies, customers can be supplied with a wide range of MSHA-certified or intrinsically safe machinery and safety solutions designed to prevent accidents, injuries and fatalities. The solutions we provide can be tailored to our customer’s specific requirements, no matter how big or small. We provide everything from cones and safety signage, cameras, proximity detectors and warning sensors, to complete collision avoidance systems. Other safety solutions are also available through Carroll Technologies, such as underground communications, lighting solutionsMSA multi gas detectionMPS hard hats, and Miner and Equipment Tracking Systems (METS) and more.

Carroll Technologies Group provides a full suite of technical mining training courses, including comprehensive training courses for all of the major products in its portfolio. Staff are introduced to safe work practices and precautionary techniques with materials and guidance provided by MSHA itself.

Our mining hazards and risks resource may help to assist with the identification of potential safety issues and available solutions to combat them.

If you still have questions or require assistance with your safety program, we can help you to identify safety risks and recommend necessary solutions. Get in touch via our chat feature on the website or by using the contact form. We’re always quick to respond and will be very happy to help.

Latest safety announcements from MSHA

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Industry-Leading MSHA Cordless Mining Light: Polaris NLT vs WISDOM Lights

Atmospheric Monitoring Devices & Equipment for Mining

NLT Polaris: The best MSHA approved cordless mining light

The Polaris lamp is the most used cordless cap lamp in mines across the globe, outstripping its competition both in terms of light output and total runtime, boasting an output of 7,000 LUX, a runtime of 14 hours for the primary LED, and seven days for the secondary LED. Northern Lights Technologies has paved the way with mining lighting innovation, advancing on its Polaris model by incorporating proximity and tracking tags to develop the NLT Genesis.

The rugged, award-winning Polaris cap lamp headpiece is IP67-rated for use in harsh and dangerous environments such as mines and tunnels. As the first MSHA-approved all-in-one cordless cap lamp on the market, NLT has proven itself to be an industry leader with its expanding range of rugged cap lights, including the second-generation Genesis cap lamp with integrated tracking tags, as well as the Rebel cap light that provides five hours of constant high beam light or 20 hours at medium output.

NLT Vs WISDOM: trusting the experts

WISDOM provides a number of corded and cordless cap lights, but it is the Wise Lite that is MSHA-approved for use in mines. While it works well as an all-in-one lighting solution, the Polaris remains more widely used.

With more than 40 years of experience providing mining safety, electronic, lighting and communication solutions to US mines, Carroll Technologies has studied the market to bring its customers the best of the best.

According to Carroll Technologies president Allen Haywood. “We’ve been supplying the NLT cap lights for many years. It is the highest quality cap light in comparison to the others on the market, and there is a lot of competition. We are a service center and stock repair parts for NLT products, so they are much a better value for the customer in the long term.”

The NLT Polaris, Rebel and Genesis cap lights are available through Carroll Technologies’ online mining store:

  • Polaris cap light (both adjustable and fixed clip)
  • Rebel cap light (both adjustable and fixed clip)
  • Genesis cap light (call 606-573-1000 for a customized cap light with tracking tags)

Visit Carroll’s online Mining Shop for more NLT products, including chargers, adapters and mounting clips.

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What Equipment Do You Need for Gold Mining?

panoramic view of a gold mine

Hard rock mining produces most of the world’s gold, and the US (the fourth-largest gold-producing nation after China, Australia and Russia), produced 200 tonnes of gold in 2019. Mines that produce gold are situated all over the US, with most of the nation’s gold being produced in the state of Nevada. This means that there is a lot of equipment in circulation used for gold mining, from safety equipment to communication solutions to heavy vehicles.

Gold mining equipment

So, what equipment do you need for gold mining? Mines require hoists and conveyor belts (as well as other transport/removal equipment), solutions for ground support (such as bolts), ventilation systems to clear and control hazardous gases and dust, cap lights and visibility solutions, communication networks (such as fixed phones or portable radios), PPE equipment (such as personal gas detectors), and collision avoidance systems for both vehicles/equipment and personnel.

Where to buy gold mining equipment

With such diversity in equipment, having onsite expertise in all areas at all times can be tricky. Finding a trusted distributor who has searched the market for the best solutions for each application is the best way to ensure optimal safety, productivity and profitability.

Carroll Technologies offers safety, communication, motor controls, monitoring, collision avoidance and other gold mining equipment (along with installation and repair services) to mines across the US. With more than 40 years of experience, Carroll only supplies gold mining equipment from the best and most trusted manufacturers on the market.

Gold mining equipment manufacturers

Northern Light Technologies (NLT) has paved the way with cap lamp innovation, incorporating proximity and tracking tags into its world-leading and fully customizable cap light solutions, including NLT Polaris, Rebel and Genesis cap lights.

PBE’s PAS-ZR is a ruggedized version of its standard collision avoidance system, specifically designed for the mining industry. This tag-based detection system can be used for both mobile and fixed assets, including workers, and uses multiple detection technologies simultaneously to provide reliable results. PBE’s MineBoss 2.0 is a centralized control system for atmospheric monitoring, fire and dust suppression systems, power supplies/battery back-up, fans and airflow systems.

Harrington Hoists offers a broad range of hoists used for gold mining, including overhead cranes, crane accessories, chain hoists and trolleys, electric wire rope hoists and trolleys, lever hoists, manual hand chain hoists, push and geared trolleys, and a full line of replacement parts.

MSA safety solutions are used at gold mining sites across the globe. Its safety equipment includes the Altair 4X Detector, a portable multi-gas detector that can alert the user to the presence of combustibles, toxins, and anaerobic environments in 15 seconds, as well as the W65 Self-Rescuer Respirator, a one-time-use device that provides emergency respiratory protection against carbon monoxide.

Page Boss phones provide clear and undistorted communication for an entire gold mining network, the company’s portfolio of phones can be mixed and matched to build a complete communication system above or below ground.

The best way for Carroll Technologies to provide gold mining equipment for your mine is through a consultation to meet your site’s specific needs. Book a free safety consultation here or call 606-573-1000 to find out more.


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