Data is your insurance policy.
Everyone goes on and on about the importance of data to optimize operations, increase efficiency, and improve safety. But there's another reason to collect data, that we as an industry don't like to talk about, covering our assets.
When things go wrong, and they will, you need to be able to show that you did everything you could to prevent the disaster- otherwise its your assets on the line.
It's no secret litigation, compliance, inspections, workers comp, and more are a big problem for heavy industries. Drill & Blast, Mining, and Aggregates are no exception. When an accident occurs all the headaches begin. How do you protect yourself and your business when the fingers start pointing?
Records. Lots of them.
This is where the data comes in. Here are 5 ways data protects you:
1. Prevent Accidents
Analyzing site data reveals trends that can be addressed. For example, by creating digital twins of your bench and then recording pre blast data such as blast design, Face Profiles, Blast timing and loading, and bench geology, then adding to it after blast data such as muckpile shape, fragmentation size, vibration, fly rock simulation, and more the AI can identify patterns in the data that lead to less desirable outcomes and help you to determine the best course of action moving forward.
5 ways to immediately decrease blasting risks:
- Using drones to quickly & safely create accurate detailed 3D models of the bench or site
- Taking advantage of automated geology detection to better plan your blast design, loading, and stemming
- Using automated burden analyses to make sure you're moving what you want to
- Incorporating hole deviation measurement to modify loading plans in case the as-drilled holes don't match your original plan
- Adjusting timing to create less vibration.
By using better data and better analysis you can identify risks early on and compensate for them. Data allows you to prevent accidents. Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the more you can do.
2. Create a Record
The more data you have, the better your understanding of your site. The data can reveal exactly where and when something went wrong, as well as all the times nothing went wrong.
3 ways to create a record to cover your ass(ets)
- Use drones to create daily highly accurate 3D models of the berms on your site that are clear, accurate, and objective. Identify any maintenance needs, assign the project, and track its status.
- Keeping a record of every stage of the blast to show that all steps were safely and responsibly undertaken. Even better, to show a track record that those same steps had been taken many times before and nothing had gone wrong.
- Create a model of your site and map out your haul roads. Use AI to automatically, accurately, and objectively measure them for width, grade, and maintenance needs. Make sure there's plenty of room for your haul trucks to drive and that your roads meet your specifications. Monitor them regularly.
Good records make it easier to identify where and when things went wrong as well as all the times it didn't, and also all the actions taken to prevent incidents. It makes it easier to conduct investigations and makes reporting so much easier. Automated, clear, and objective reports as well as records of activity including detailed interactive 3D models are a data gold standard for seeing exactly what was going on at the site at any point in time.
3. Determine What Really Went Wrong
Say you have an incident. A blast went bad and some flyrock damaged some equipment. Now your insurance company is investigating. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to show exactly what went wrong rather than everybody being held responsible? The more data the better. Clear regular records identify where the ball was dropped so that innocent parties are quickly cleared and go back to work. The data can even reveal that every party did exactly what it was supposed to and the accident was just that- an accident.
3 ways data can identify points of failure
- Down hole deviation measurement can show how closely blast holes were drilled according to the plan. Add to it as drilled burden calculation and loading information and you can see if the new burdens from the as-drilled holes were accounted for in the loading phase.
- Records of blasts combined with muckpile and vibration data could show the same steps taken on previous blasts were all well within safety margins and that this blast, designed similarly to those other blasts should have been fine. Except, in this case, there was a geological feature that nobody knew about and that really couldn't have been found pre-blast. It was the geology that unexpectedly effected the blast and no-one was at fault.
- A Haul truck falls off a haul road. Regular records of haul roads could show that the roads and berms were properly designed and maintained- or not. That there was a clear failure on the part of the quarry, the maintenance crew, or the truck driver.
It's important for many reasons to know what actually went wrong when an incident occurs. Though the natural instinct might be to close ranks when something goes wrong, it's better to know exactly where the failure occurred so that it can be addressed and doesn't happen again.
4. Be Proactive
"Industry standard" is a legal term that essentially describes the bare minimum a company or individual can do and try to escape liability. Going above and beyond, shows a good faith effort to try to prevent accidents.
3 ways investing in data just looks good.
- If a blast goes wrong and the industry standard is to use laser scanners to profile the shot but you're using a burden pole- that looks really bad- if everyone else can use a laser why can't you? But if you can show you use a drone and incorporate AI technology and something still goes wrong, there isn't going to be any way to say you could have done more.
- In the middle of a global pandemic, using cloud based software to easily grant access to site information to anyone anywhere so that workers don't have to travel and don't have to meet up in person reducing the risk of spreading or contracting the disease, while can still being able to provide input and make informed valuable decisions.
- Automation removes the risk of human error. Avoid bad penmanship, distraction, and memory. Keeping crispy clean records shows attention to detail and that you care.
Being able to say "we did everything possible" just resonates better than "we did the bare minimum."
While unfortunately we don't get much credit for all the times we didn't have an accident, it is certainly recognized when there's a history of accidents. And the more accidents the worse it gets.
It's only a matter of time before the regulators, the courts, and the insurance companies start requiring detailed site records like the ones offered by companies like Strayos.
So make sure when something goes wrong, you have the data to protect yourself.
You can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your people or yourself. New technologies are rapidly changing the drilling, blasting, mining, and aggregates industries, empowering them in ways never before possible. Make sure you are taking advantage of the best tools available.
Check out our 2 Free E-books on AI applications for the drilling, blasting, and mining industries to see all the amazing advances that are available.
AI Guide for Drilling and Blasting
AI Guide for Mining
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