PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Just last month, the governor of West Virginia ordered a mine safety stand-down.
All mines in the state were forced to stop production for one hour. That was in response to a spike in fatal mining accidents in the state.
Here in Pennsylvania, leaders in the industry are focusing on new technology designed to help keep miners safe.
New roof supports are equipped with personal proximity detection. The system basically prevents a miner from stepping in front of a moving roof support.
“These roof supports weigh over 20 tons each and they move fairly quickly, so although miners are very used to the pattern and how the roof supports move, this prevents human error,” Michael Leonard said.
The equipment is manufactured in Houston, Washington County by Caterpillar.
CONSOL Energy has already purchased it for mines in Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia.
“Our goal is that every employee that comes to work goes home the same way they came to work safely and that’s around 10,000 employees, so we are continuously looking for new technologies,” Darryl Husenits from CONSOL Energy said.
Industry leaders had a chance today to check out the technology at the Caterpillar plant.
Many were impressed, not only by the equipment itself, but by the concentration on safety.
“Mine safety used to be a huge challenge, but now we can go several years at a time in the state of Pennsylvania without any serious mining accidents, so the whole concept of safety has really taken over the industry,” C. Alan Walker said.