Safety and asset integrity

Managing safety to minimize risk to people, property and environment

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The need to balance ever increasing pressures to reduce costs and improve productivity against strict safety regulations has become one of the most difficult challenges in all industries in general and in mining industry specifically. 

Why safety and asset integrity?
As we are entering the epoch of the mine of the future, mining companies are paying more and more attention to their responsibility to protect their people, property as well as the surrounding environment from harm. At the same time world organizations, governments and authorities of most developed countries are sharpening their safety regulations. In the mining industry end-users are demanding closer integration of their safety and control systems, safety functions at various process states, flexibility, scalability and reusability of their safety components. They need a cost effective way of maintaining production capability, while preserving the integrity of the assets and meeting the requirements from modern legislation. Safety and asset integrity refers to the ability of an asset to perform its required function effectively and efficiently whilst protecting health, safety and the environment. It is also the means of ensuring that people, systems, processes and resources that deliver integrity are in place, in use and will perform when required over the whole lifecycle of the asset.
 Safety and asset integrity in mining practice
The international safety standards such as IEC 61508 Ed2 and IEC 61511 for the process sector, IEC 62061 for machinery and IEC 6180-5-2 for power drives are globally acknowledged as “good practice” in functional safety. SIL (Safety Integrity Level), which is based on IEC/EN 61508, is fundamental to these standards. SIL is a statistical representation of the availability of a required safety instrumented function. There are 4 SIL designations provided in ANSI/ISA S84.01 and IEC 61508. SIL 4 has the highest level of safety integrity and SIL 1 has the lowest. SIL is applied to the reliability and performance of safety system used to protect hazardous activities. Management and technical measures are necessary to achieve a given integrity. Today, the safety and asset integrity in mining industry is far from complete. Many mining companies and suppliers to the mining industry are working hard to meet the requirements of SIL. ABB is working together with its mining customers to develop and consolidate the safety and asset integrity and be a good example in this front.

Delivering your functional safety lifecycle solutions
SIL is part of a larger scheme called functional safety. It is fundamental to the enabling of complex technology used for safety related systems. SIL determination is critical, as inappropriate SIL determination can affect the safety integrity of the asset protection envelope and may, in some cases, place the asset integrity under threat. Conversely, an overly conservative approach can result in unnecessary capital and operation spending. Properly defined SIL levels allow for significant cost improvements in both greenfield and brownfield operating environments. Asset operational safety integrity levels are maintained while the cost of ownership from ongoing testing and maintenance is optimized. As your partner, we are striving after following each of these phases to map our product and service portfolio to this lifecycle to meet your safety requirements.

Global competency, local presence
Moving into the 21st century, companies in mining industry have developed truly global capabilities. ABB’s global competency with local presence in all major mining countries is a pre-requisite to meet our customers’ contractual and regulatory requirements. No matter how remote an area your mine is located at, ABB is always close to you 24/7. Our expertise, certified engineers and safety execution centers enable us to function as an extension of your information and safety resources pool, particularly where in-house resources are no longer available.


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