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SAFETY


THE TOPDOWN FROM


Why head protection is the key to keeping miners safe


Helmets are a vital part of the safety armoury that protects miners as they work


A


ppropriate head protection is absolutely crucial when it comes to the safety of workers. T e correct choice of head protection can save


peoples’ lives in unpredictable situations, such as during the accident in Chile where 33 miners were trapped underground for 69 days. It was helmets from MSA’s V-Gard range that protected the Chilean miners’ heads until they were rescued by emergency teams. V-Gard is a complete system for head protection developed by MSA. Each of the helmets within the V product family and all the associated accessories have been designed to provide the most eff ective protection in every industrial application, even the harshest of environments such those found in mines. Depending on the conditions in a


particular mine, the basic HDPE V-Gard helmet or a more advanced ABS solution such as the V-Gard 200/500/520 can be selected. HDPE provides good impact protection while ABS off ers greater resistance to shocks, scratches and lateral protection. Diff erent helmet types have slightly diff erent shapes so they can be perfectly adjusted to suit the needs and preferences of diff erent users, such as the angle of the lamp beam which is dependent on the shape of the helmet front. Each of the V-Gard helmets off ers the maximum level of protection. Miners working in hot areas will


benefi t from vented helmets. Others who work in cold conditions will still receive


32 www.engineerlive.com


the proper level of protection since all MSA helmets have been certifi ed for use even when temperatures fall below -30°C. In addition, any non-vented V-Gard helmet will prevent the wearer being electrocuted should their head come into contact with electrical wires. T e wide range of accessories available extends the functionality of the helmets beyond simply off ering head protection, giving signifi cant fl exibility while selecting a complex solution for particular needs. Miners are off ered two types of front lamp bracket – the most popular helmet accessory used in mines. Both the plastic and metal lamp brackets are equipped with a rear cable loop. Use of the plastic lamp bracket retains the electrical insulation properties of the helmet and will be preferred in coal mines while the metal bracket will be preferred in metal ore mines.


ATEX REQUIREMENTS In mines with explosive atmospheres, it is crucial that helmets meet ATEX requirements. All V-Gard helmets prevent electrostatic charge, making them suitable for use in ATEX environments. T e helmets have been tested in accordance with the EN standard for non-electrical equipment


for use in hazardous areas. In the mining industry, they can be used for any type of extraction and at any depth.


EYE PROTECTION Workers operating in conditions where there is a high risk of eye injury will benefi t from MSA’s stowable visor, which can be attached to V-Gard and V-Gard 200 helmets. Alternatively, closely fi tting goggles with a comfort-fi t band ensure complete eye protection from dust and fl ying debris. More demanding applications will


require the use of a visor that covers the entire face. A wide range of MSA visors can be attached to all V-Gard helmets. All of them can be used in conjunction with MSA’s disposable half-masks and half- masks with a bayonet-style design. In their everyday work, miners do not just face risks which may result in an immediate physical injury. T ey also need to be protected from another type of danger – noise. It can reduce their hearing ability and even lead to complete deafness. MSA has designed several types of earmuff s to enhance the protection off ered by its helmets. T ey all allow for safe working alongside noisy mechanical equipment in the modern mining industry. T e fi rm also supplies ear plugs.


Helmet from MSA’s V-Gard range


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