In 2007, EMESRT published Design Philosophy 4 (DP-4) Equipment Fires. This project builds from that work.
Mobile equipment fires occur too regularly in the mining industry and present a potential fatality risk in surface mines and a potentially catastrophic risk for underground operations. There is also considerable cost in the recovery of the resultant damage for mining operators.
The cause of incidents mainly occurs in three categories, firstly in equipment design, e.g. separation of fuel from heat sources including fire system readiness. Secondly, issues with routine maintenance practices or the lack there of, causing degradation over a period. Thirdly, heat/fire suppression system detection and integration into base machine.
Fire detection and suppression systems are mostly designed, supplied and installed by third parties and not usually well integrated between OEM and third party supplier’s designs. Maintenance of these fire suppression systems can be inconsistently applied and maintaining competent technician skills can be difficult especially for 24/7 remote operations.
In early 2019, EMESRT commissioned the development of a draft Equipment Fire Control Framework and invited experienced mining industry personnel to be members of the Equipment Fire Management working group.
The draft Control Framework build was based on industry information, guidance, operation experience and know-how and included review of:
- EMESRT Design Philosophy 4 – Equipment Fires
- Regulator information from multiple jurisdictions – incident reports, bulletins, publications analysis, and position papers, etc.
- Operating site, company and industry documents
- Research and technical information, e.g. incident taxonomies
- ACARP Funded UQ RISKGate – Fires topic
- Relevant Standards and Guidelines
In two facilitated 2019 workshops, 17 experienced and well qualified people representing the eight organisations listed below, reviewed, amended, updated and validated the draft CFw to become Version 1 of a CFw Baseline for Equipment Fires.
Alcoa, Anglo American, BHP, Glencore, Peabody, the Queensland Regulator, Rio Tinto, South32, and Risk Mentor
The Required Operating States for equipment fire management from the CFw are listed in a table on page 12 of our Annual Report 2019. These were confirmed by workshop participants as being the minimum set necessary to deliver the business purpose of safe and productive operation of mobile equipment.
This project has already delivered a draft Equipment Fire Management Self-Review tool, project plans including stakeholder management and has formed work groups to focus on:
- Good Maintenance and Operational Practice
- Fire Detection and Suppression system design and maintenance
- Mining Equipment Design