IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Safety of Mine Hoists Controlled by Electronic Programmable Systems ─ Appendix


With the rapid changes in new technology and the constant quest for greater return on investment, programmable electronic systems (PES) have progressively been implemented in all industries. The mining industry is no exception to this trend, and over time virtually all Quebec mines have equipped their hoists with systems of this kind. However, the introduction of these new technologies, which is necessary to boost mining productivity in Quebec, must go hand in hand with corresponding adjustments in occupational health and safety.

A survey of mining hoists being used in Quebec in 2016 showed that the overall profile of the industry has changed considerably since the first version of the data sheet, RF-421, was published in 2005: the vast majority of hoists are now controlled and monitored by PESs, and close to a third of hoists have been in operation for less than 10 years. At the same time, many older hoists have had their control systems updated. In light of these observations and of incidents that have occurred in recent years, it seemed a new version of data sheet RF-421 was needed— one that would reflect both the current situation in Quebec (significant differences between the newest and oldest hoists) as well as prevailing industry trends (greater loads and hoisting speeds, increasingly automated systems).

This appendix report describes the process and thinking that led to the drafting of new data sheet RF-1049, which was developed in conjunction with mine hoist experts and machine safety specialists. Although a large part of the content has been taken from data sheet RF-421, this update provided an opportunity to review its structure and organization so that, as far as possible, the information could be presented and arranged in the same way as in international standards. A further underlying objective of this new data sheet was to reconcile the current state of hoists now being used with the continuing trend toward greater automation and the integration of modern practices respecting the robustness (or reliability) of the control systems of future hoists.

This new data sheet, RF-1049, sets out the current state of the art regarding PES reliability and PES use to control hoists. It is intended for PES-controlled hoist users, owners and designers. It reviews information on the system safety objectives to be targeted for PES-controlled hoists. It in no way exempts designers or users from the obligation to comply with all legal and regulatory requirements related to their operations.