Predictive maintenance is essential to stopping accidents and reducing the perspective of mining as an inevitably dangerous operation.

When it comes to accidents, injuries and deaths, the attitude of many is that such occurrences in mining operations are simply unavoidable. Accidents in the mining industry have continued to drive fatalistic sentiments about the industry today, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. Although more equipment reliability, better inspections and an increase in industry and government oversight has curtailed the number of mining-related deaths and injuries in many countries, these practices have not spread worldwide. Mining is, more often than not, a global enterprise, so many mines where accidents have recently occurred have ties to operations and companies in far-flung locales. Recent incidents in Africa and Indonesia are proof of this reality.

Accidents continue to happen in U.S. as well. One recent incident at Lone Mountain Processing's Darby Fork coal mine, located in Holmes Mill, Ken., resulted in a mine worker losing his eye, according to the Harlan Daily. A piece of metal less than an inch long flew off of a piece of machinery and struck him. This accident is a reminder of the fact that mining is a difficult and potentially dangerous occupation, so every effort should be made to keep operations safe as possible. This approach will be the only way to combating the perception of mining as an industry in which death and injuries are inevitable.

Predictive maintenance is imperative for optimal safety in mining operations. Organizations that cling to reactive maintenance approaches may not notice and address possible weak machinery, and for those affected by an accident, repairs will already come too late. Mining monitors offer low-cost, non-invasive solutions to traditional, narrow maintenance practices, while remote equipment monitoring can be used by an operating manager to pay attention to all machines at once and quickly identify a possible breakdown before any further incident.