Equipment Failures

A recent mining accident in southwest China left 21 workers dead. Demand for coal in China is expected to increase in the coming years, so it will become even more important for the country to make mining conditions safer.

Last November, a routine maintenance check of a ferry in Walla Walla, Washington, ended in the destruction of an electric drive motor which put the watercraft out of commission for five months and cost $3 million to repair. Unfortunately, routine maintenance incidents like this one are all too common in industrial, plant, mining and other situations.

Many of the recent mining deaths in China have been linked to equipment failure or malfunction and could have been prevented if equipment monitoring and predictive maintenance practices were followed.

Canadian oil company Plains Midstream Canada was recently issued four high-risk enforcement actions by Alberta's Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB). This was related to an oil spill that occurred in April 2011, which ultimately cost the company nearly $100 million. This expensive and damaging situation could have been prevented if the company used appropriate crack detection and equipment monitoring technologies.

After four West Virginia coal mining accidents resulted in four miners' deaths over the past two weeks, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin issued an executive order on Wednesday urging mine operators to halt production for an hour to review safety procedures with workers. Investigations are ongoing into the cause of the deaths and whether they could have been prevented by better safety audits or equipment monitoring.