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Remotely Controlled Equipment Accidents - Scoping Study

Underground » Health and Safety

Published: July 01Project Number: C9026

Get ReportAuthor: Jan Oberholzer, Andre de Kock | SIMTARS

This project set out to determine why accidents happen with equipment that are controlled by Radio Remote Systems so as to determine research needs. It has been found that the accidents are caused by other factors than the actual radio remote control itself.

Using a risk assessment approach it was found that there are only two potential main hazards that workers could be exposed to:

  • The fall, or unwanted movement of strata
  • The unplanned or unwanted movement of the machine that is being controlled.

The risk of these hazards causing an accident is increased by two main contributory factors:

  • A lack of the adequate knowledge required to be able to predict how and where the hazards could occur
  • A lack of adequate concern regarding the occurrence of the hazard.

The findings of this report led to the following conclusions:

  • There is no evidence to support the allocation of funds or resources for research to solve identified problems with radio remote controls, as there is more than sufficient technology available.
  • There are sufficient commercial products on offer that could sort out the majority of the safety gaps that exist in the field of radio remotely controlled equipment.
  • There is more than sufficient knowledge available in the field of Radio Remote Controls to allow the required technology transfer and training actions to be done.
  • There is a discrepancy between what is required by legislation, standards, safety management plans and guidelines, and what happens in practice. The reasons for this could be worthy of further research.
  • There is a lack of transparency with regard to the software used in radio remote control systems.
  • The relevant standards and guidelines are sufficiently comprehensive to ensure safe operation of radio remote control systems.

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