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Mine falls: How to prevent and predict roof collapses

Mine roof collapse

Many of the most infamous mine roof collapses share one thing in common: ignoring or not adequately addressing inspection citations.  

MSHA is required to inspect underground mines four times a year for health and safety compliance, although mines with high levels of explosive or toxic gasses are inspected more often. Further Inspections will also be conducted in response to complaints of hazardous conditions. 

MSHA Best Practices for Mine Roof Collapse

 In 2016, in response to ten roof falls that occurred on working sections after the roof was bolted, MSHA updated its best practices to prevent and predict roof collapses. These events were considered particularly worrying because roof falls at the loading point are especially dangerous as this is where most workers will be located. 

 Between 1999 and 2008, prior to these changes, MSHA reported that almost 40% of all underground fatalities were attributed to roof, rib, and face falls. 

 MSHA now states that mines must know and follow the approved roof control plan and that there must be frequent examinations. Mines must also be conscious of changing conditions, as this may affect roof or rib conditions. In the event of adverse conditions, additional roof and/or rib support must be installed. 

 Supplemental support includes equipment such as screens, steel straps, header boards or larger roof bolt plates, and extra support in the vicinity of the last row of bolts should also be used where appropriate. Test holes should be used to check for cracks and other potential hazards above the roof bolts. 

 Workers should immediately inform mine management and other miners if there are any unusual roof or rib conditions, and no personnel should travel under an unsupported roof. 

 In the event that the roof becomes unstable, equipment should be withdrawn immediately.  

NIOSH Mining Program: Preventing Mine Roof Collapse

As part of its Mining Strategic Plan for 2019-2023, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) set out a number of priority research areas, including “improved safety in relation to the wide range of tools, stationary equipment, and mobile equipment used to extract and process mined materials”, which includes safety equipment for preventing roof and rib falls and ground failures. 

Ground Monitors and Fault Monitoring Systems

Carroll Technologies provides a range of Simplified Mining Instruments (SMI) ground monitoring systems for mining infrastructure that allows operators to analyse rock stability and make critical decisions. The SMI product range includes Miner’s Helper Extensometer for monitoring roof sag, the Sag Flag for continuous monitoring of ground movement, and the Miner’s Eye Bore scope camera for visual inspections of boreholes

 PEMCO continuous ground monitors verify the integrity of AC ground wire in heavy equipment trailing cables, while MCI’s ground monitors and ground-fault replays improve personnel and electrical equipment safety. 


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

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Fall protection equipment for offshore, oil & gas industries

Fall protection equipment for offshore, oil & gas industries

Good practice guidelines for working at height (WAH) from the G+ Global Offshore Wind Health and Safety Organisation suggest a hierarchy of protective measures. WAH should be avoided where possible, but where this is not reasonably practicable, offshore sites need to have collective protection (such as fixed guardrails), and personal protection (such as fall prevention or restraint systems).

In the US, OSHA fall protection standards require that any personnel working on a  surface more than 6ft high with an unprotected edge must have fall protection equipment. Offshore fall protection requires the best quality equipment that workers can rely on.

Finding the Best Oil and Gas Fall Protection

Consulting safety experts is the most efficient way of finding equipment that is best suited for your site or for any given application, as well as ensuring that your workers are correctly informed on how to use the equipment.

Carroll Technologies has more than 40 years of experience providing safety expertise and industry-leading safety equipment, and has searched the market for the best of the best. Carroll supplies offshore fall protection equipment such as harnesses, hooks and shock-absorbing lanyards from trusted manufacturers.

From MSA, Carroll supplies rugged, energy-absorbing lanyards that keep fall arrest forces below 6 kN. MSA’s restraint lanyards are designed to be placed between the anchor point and the harness, which prevents workers from dropping into the fall area.

Honeywell’s Miller brand provides a high-quality range of full protection solutions, including its harness and fall limiters. The Miller AirCore harnesses are lightweight and made from corrosion-resistant aluminium and breathable open-core padding to allow for optimal airflow, as well as reduced heat and moisture entrapment.

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

Carroll Technologies also supplies fall protection equipment for most industrial applications, including fall protection for the mining and tunnelling industries. Contact us to discuss your project.