Comms Improve Safety and Efficiency in Mining Environments

Monday, 01 May, 2023

Comms Improve Safety and Efficiency in Mining Environments

Miners’ communication systems are essential both above and below ground in large mining environments, acting as a vital link back to the control room and to team members or other colleagues. They provide the capability to warn of any issue through voice as well as through automated features or data sharing.

Mining environments are often dirty, wet, dusty or a combination of all three. Vision and awareness can be limited and the noise of machinery can be overwhelming. In this environment, a miner’s radio is their crucial connection to get advice or help, to warn colleagues and to help maintain site safety.

Mines are frequently dirty, dusty or wet, which can be a risk to onsite equipment. Image credit:

However, more than providing a voice connection, the radio can use powerful data connectivity to help improve the teams’ operational awareness, improving both safety and efficiency. Examples of this type of connectivity could include:

Connection to Safety Equipment

Radios can be connected to existing safety connection via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. This can mean that crucial warnings, for example from gas detection devices or door lock systems, can be alerted to the user but also shared via the radio network to other team members.

Enabling Safe And Secure Site Access

Radios can enable access to secure areas, for example into blast zones, explosive stores, operational zones or specific buildings. Radios can interact with Bluetooth or RFID tags, or create automated actions when crossing geofences, to ensure smooth, safe access is enabled.

Share Status And Location

Radios can report a user’s location and their status, whether outdoors, indoors or even underground, meaning workers with the availability and necessary skills can be efficiently and quickly deployed.

Protect Lone Workers

Radios can detect if a lone worker has been hurt or incapacitated, sending a warning to nearby colleagues to ensure help is requested quickly.

Handling Mass Data

Use of a broadband critical communications device can further enhance this capability, by enabling mass data to be utilised. Examples of this could be streamed video from a body cam or drone, providing better situational awareness to all key staff. Using either a secure Wi-Fi or a 4G/5G connection, the ability to transfer still images or video is a significant leap forward in the capability of critical communications devices, but crucially still comes in the robust package demanded by users in the field.

Drones can be used to improve situational awareness on mining sites. Image credit:

Staff Safety

Both TETRA and LTE solutions allow for automated actions from the radio. These enable users to focus on key actions while the radio performs simple maintenance tasks. These can be made to suit the operation, but examples could include:

  • Talkgroup changes based on geolocation triggers
  • Registering a pool user with a specific employee
  • Creating alerts based on data, for example expiry of safety certificates, training needs or similar

For more information and to arrange a trial of Sepura products, please contact

Top image credit:

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