Safety Insights

CORESafety TV (June 2021): Why Drones Can’t Fly in Coal Mines And What’s Being Done About It

Welcome to the June edition of CORESafety TV — the online video program from the National Mining Association.

Technically speaking, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones can be flown inside contained areas like underground mines. Metal and non-metal mining operations are using drones in increasing numbers these days. Surface mines are especially seeing a lot of them.

But from a safety standpoint, it’s neither safe nor permissible to fly a drone inside a coal mine, according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

There are several reasons why, but the main reason involves the possibility of a spark from the drone’s electrical motor or battery that could potentially cause an explosion.

In this episode of CORESafety TV, we interview two professors at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology who are working hard to develop a safe drone platform that MSHA will approve.

Dr. Pedram Roghanchi and Dr. Mostafa Hassanalian just landed a three-year, $600,000 research grant to study this situation and to come up with a solution. Here’s their story –

In this June episode, we also take a look at CORESafety’s Module #14 – Incident Reporting and Investigation. Find out which incidents are considered reportable versus non-reportable, and what mining employees need to do.


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