Hanson Material Services approached the installation of an underground fan wall as a best practice to provide necessary ventilation while protecting the health and safety of underground miners.
The Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers (IAAP) announced Hanson Material Service as the winner of its annual Innovative Safety and Health Leadership Award. The IAAP's safety committee developed this award to recognize a company, workplace team or individual demonstrating superior or exemplary contributions in safety and health leadership that engage employees with the understanding of what is needed to build and sustain an "injury free workplace" through their innovative and collective efforts.
Hanson Material Service's project manager David Morgan and mine site personnel worked with the engineering company on the design and installation of the first-of-its-kind in the Midwest ventilation fan wall at the company's Federal Underground mine in McCook, Ill. The company approached this as a best practice to provide necessary ventilation while protecting the health and safety of underground miners.
The benefits of this approach include the ability to rotate and reposition the two 14-ft. diameter fans. Reversing the flow of air in or out of the mine provides the company with a safe and effective tool to clear the mine following a shot. Before these fans were installed, clearing the shot took six to eight hours, but now only one hour.
Repositioning is accomplished remotely from the surface, in four minutes, using motors and cameras to verify position, thereby removing any potential safety hazard to miners. Rotating the fans also allows the company to manage potential ice buildup in the ventilation shaft or decline road into the mine.
The commitment by company leadership on this project to protect the health and safety of miners has resulted in benefits to the community as well. By constructing these fans, capable of moving 350,000 cfm each, inside the mine, rather than at the surface, noise heard in the surrounding community from quarrying activities has been greatly reduced.
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