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Why Grounding Is Important in Mines
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Thursday, November 22, 2018

When working around live wires in mines, it should be ensured that electricity is grounded to prevent any fatal deaths due to an electrical shock. Grounding electrical current stops the charge from seeking the body of a worker as the ground path.
In mines, work is not allowed without grounding electrical equipment, as it ensures a safe working environment during electrical work.

In this post, we’ll enunciate the importance of grounding in mines and a few methods of grounding that are used in the industry.

Grounding in Mining

Grounded systems and equipment have been used across mines since the 1970s to ensure that workers remain safe from lightning and shock hazards. Using high-power equipment in intense environmental conditions can lead to fatal deaths, if electrical equipment is not grounded.

An essential part of safety in mines is protection of workers from dangers of electrical faults. In the mining industry, electrical power is extensively used and to prevent accidents and fatal hazards during the use of high-powered equipment, grounding is absolutely essential. About 14% of all accidental electrical deaths occur because of inadequate or improper grounding.

Methods of System Grounding

To protect the mine personnel from electric shocks, nonmetal/metal plants must be properly grounded. Power systems have several designs, but we’ll discuss only a few most important ones.

1. Ungrounded Systems
Ungrounded systems do not use any intentional grounding. Although in these systems, the current flow for line-to-line grounds is low and there are no flash hazards, they’re prone to shock hazards and installation failures from transient voltage conditions. In ungrounded systems, phase balance monitoring is mostly used and good maintenance is essential to ensure workers’ safety.

2. Solidly Grounded Systems
There’s no intentionally added impedance in solidly grounded systems. A major advantage that comes from this is that the over-voltage is controlled since the system is grounded.

3. Low-Resistance Grounding
In low-resistance grounding systems, the ground-fault current is limited from 100-1000 amps. Although over-voltages are controlled, it is not recommended to use low-resistance grounding in systems with low voltage as the ground fault current is limited.

4. High-Resistance Grounding
In mills and plants, high-resistance grounding is normally used. The ground current is lowered with the help of a resistor that’s equal to or greater than the system’s capacitive current. This limits the ground current and controls over-voltages based on coordination requirements or relay limitations.

Protecting Against Failures and Faults

In addition to grounding the electrical equipment, additional safety devices like ground relays are also important in mines. Improper grounding often creates a problem in mines and frequent checks are required to ensure that there is no fault in the grounding system. Ground fault relays are essential to protect systems from ground faults.

The importance of grounding in mines cannot be overstated and to protect workers from electrical hazards, top-quality electrical grounding equipment should be used in mines. To get premium-quality electrical grounding equipment and ground fault detectors, connect with Elgin Power Solutions.


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