During its annual convention in early March, the Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers (IAAP) presented its 2020 Innovative Safety & Health Leadership Award to Hanson Material Service for the Federal Underground mine’s Secondary Emergency Escape Facility.
Hanson Material Service’s David Morgan worked with Kelly Engineering on the design, and mine site personnel provided input during development as they worked to construct the facility. The company approached this as a best practice to protect the health and safety of underground miners if emergency egress was needed from the mine and the primary escapeway was unavailable.
“Safety is a core value within our organization and providing our miners with a solid means of secondary egress from our new underground mine was of critical importance,” said Toby Breedlove, vice president and general manager for Hanson’s Illinois and Northwestern Indiana region. “We partnered with our miners and MSHA to design a best practice emergency escape system that I believe will serve our miners well.”
The Secondary Emergency Escape Facility is built within a raise bored shaft 20 ft. in diameter and 193 ft. tall that primarily serves as a mine ventilation shaft. Two control stations, one at the top of the shaft and one on the escape platform with integrated communications systems, operate two hydraulically powered and proportionally controlled Pullmaster winches, ensuring safe and efficient operation. The platform will support up to 5,000 lb. or about 20 miners.
When contemplating an emergency exit plan, the option of climbing 230 ft. out of the mine using a series of fixed ladders or stepping onto a platform and being brought to the surface with no climbing, the choice is obvious.
Once at the escape platform, all miners underground can be evacuated with a minimum of delay in approximately 12 minutes. The investment in this facility does not bring any additional stone out of the mine; however, it protects the most important resource in the underground mine, the miner.
The commitment by company leadership on this project to protect the health and safety of its miners has been recognized by all who work at Federal Underground. MSHA personnel from the North Central District and local field office have examined the Secondary Emergency Escape Facility, as well as MSHA’s Pittsburgh Safety & Health Technology Center, and offered positive feedback while commending the company for its efforts.
The IAAP’s Safety Committee developed this award to recognize a company, workplace team or individual demonstrating superior or exemplary contributions in Safety & Health Leadership that engage employees with the understanding of what is needed to build and sustain an “injury free workplace” through its innovative and collective efforts. This was the eighth year for the award program.
Descriptions of past award winners can be found on the IAAP website at iaap-aggregates.org.