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Appl Occup Environ Hyg. 2001 Aug;16(8):798-808.

Application of radar to detect pedestrian workers near mining equipment.

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  • 1Office for Mining Safety and Health Research, Spokane Research Laboratory, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Washington, USA.


Between 1990 and 1996, 133 accidents occurred and 23 mine workers were killed when haulage trucks used in surface mines collided with another smaller vehicle, a mine structure, or a pedestrian worker. These accidents were caused by a lack of visibility from the cab of the truck. Similar accidents are common with other types of equipment, such as front-end loaders and shovels. There are several methods for improving the operator's awareness of objects or people around the equipment including improved mirror designs, video cameras, and sensor technologies. Researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are evaluating collision warning systems that are based on radar technology. These systems are mounted on the mining equipment to monitor one or more of the blind areas. An alarm is provided to the operator if an object or person enters the radar's detection area. Tests consisted of mounting the systems on a 50-ton-capacity truck typically used in quarries and a 240-ton-capacity truck used at a surface mine. This article summarizes the test procedure and results of evaluations of several off-the-shelf and prototype radar systems. False alarm rates and reliable detection zones for pedestrians were recorded for various mounting configurations on the rear of the trucks. Mounting radar systems on large equipment presents several challenges; however, the technology does show promise for this application.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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