Interest in AI is booming as producers tap into ever-increasing data streams to make mining safer and more productive

By Russell A. Carter, Contributing Editor

No segment of the mining industry is more critical to productivity and sustainability than worker health and safety. Inattention or failure in this area can lead to consequences for mine operators that range from immediate (worker injury or fatality) to enduring (occupation-related disability, regulatory investigation, production suspension or even loss of social license to operate).

It’s an area that offers some opportunities for quick fixes — but also presents formidable challenges stemming from complex interactions. For example, a simple change in materials, such as switching a processing plant’s manhole, trench and other types of access covers from heavy metal or concrete to, say, lighter but tough synthetic composites might reduce common work-related lifting injuries. A solution to reduce operator fatigue could require attention to factors that might include anything from personal sleep habits to complicated social and work environment issues.
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