Consol Energy Inc. and Komatsu Mining Corp. have been awarded the 2018 National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Mine Safety and Health Technology Innovations Award for their work together to develop and implement a first-of-its-kind shield proximity system for use in United States coal applications.
The personal proximity detection system was developed by Komatsu for use on its Joy longwall systems to prevent automated shield movements when personnel are nearby. Consol began testing proximity detection systems on other pieces of underground mining equipment in 2010. The mining company and Komatsu then partnered, tested and deployed the proximity detectors on an active longwall operation at the company’s Pennsylvania Mining Complex.
“Creating a safer environment for our miners is always at the forefront of our decision making at Consol Energy,” said Jimmy Brock, President and CEO of Consol Energy, Canonsburg, Pa. “By partnering with Komatsu on this initiative, together we are embracing innovation and technology into our safety culture, thereby strengthening our number one core value and reducing the potential risk of human error.”
Since activating the personal proximity detection system in December of 2017, Consol Energy said there have been no incidents involving automated shield movement and humans at its longwall operations.
Consol is a producer and exporter of high-Btu bituminous thermal and metallurgical coal. Its flagship operation is the Pennsylvania Mining Complex, which has the capacity to produce approximately 28.5 million tons of coal per year. It is comprised of three underground mines: Bailey, Enlow Fork and Harvey.