Summary Of Major Fire And Fire Injury Findings For All Metal/Nonmetal Mining Categories; Analysis of Mine Fires for All US Metal/Nonmetal Mining Categories 1990-2001
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Summary Of Major Fire And Fire Injury Findings For All Metal/Nonmetal Mining Categories; Analysis of Mine Fires for All US Metal/Nonmetal Mining Categories 1990-2001

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    The major fire and fire injury findings for all metal/nonmetal mining categories for 1990-2001 are shown in tables 64-65. Table 66, partly illustrated in figure 22, shows the number of fires, fire injuries, fire fatalities, risk rates, employees' working hours, and lost workdays for all metal/nonmetal mining categories by time period. For all metal/nonmetal operations (including stone and sand and gravel), a total of 518 fires occurred during 1990-2001; 296 of those fires caused 308 injuries and 4 fatalities (Ewhr = 4,012 x 106 hr, In = 0.015, LWD = 36,204). Thirty fires and 26 injuries involved contractors. The greatest number of fires and fire injuries occurred at surface operations; the highest risk rate values were also calculated for surface operations. The number of fires increased during the first four 2-year time periods (1990-1991, 1992-1993, 1994-1995, and 1996-1997), then decreased during the last two periods (1998-1999 and 2000-2001). The number of injuries showed a decrease throughout the periods, accompanied by an increase in employees' working hours. Twenty-five firefighting interventions by mine rescue teams in underground mines and at least 30 interventions at surface operations were required to combat these fires. However, 45 fires destroyed or heavily damaged facilities and equipment (including 19 pieces of mobile equipment) because of failure of firefighting methods, late fire detection, undetected fires, or fire size. Ninety-seven fires were detected late, and 30 fires were undetected. The ignition sources that caused the greatest number of fires were flame cutting/welding spark/slag/flame (169 fires or 33% with 137 injuries), hydraulic fluid/fuel sprayed onto equipment hot surfaces (89 fires or 17% with 46 injuries and 3 fatalities), heat source/explosion and flammable liquids/ gas/refueling fuel on hot surfaces (98 fires or 19% with 73 injuries), electrical short/arcing (51 fires or 10% with 16 injuries), and spontaneous combustion/hot material (46 fires or 9% with 17 injuries). The flame cutting/welding spark/slag/flame source caused fires usually involving welders' clothing or oxyfuel/grease and other materials (including chute and dust collector liners, flammable liquids, belt material, crusher, hopper and shaker deck materials, washer plants, equipment mechanical components, stampler breaker, hydraulic fluid, rubber tires and hoses, gear boxes, bin feeder, dump rope cables, screen liner and screen panel, kiln and shaft material, pipelines, liquor pumps, wood pallets, electrical junction boxes, handrails, grease, refuse, shop and wood). The spontaneous combustion/hot material and electrical fires were usually detected late due to lack of combustion gas/smoke detection systems. At least 55 of the 89 mobile equipment hydraulic fluid/fuel fires became large fires (requiring 12 mine rescue team interventions in underground
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