Mining is a dangerous business. South Africa has some of the world’s deepest mines, a distinction that comes with significant safety risks. In 2016 alone, 73 people lost their lives in mines in the country; 2017’s tally could be higher.

Addressing and improving safety on a mine requires a multi-faceted approach, ranging from quality worker engagement and training processes, to high tech solutions such as vehicles fitted with collision avoidance systems.

Kansai Plascon mining press adIn this mix, safety information and warning signs remain a cornerstone of creating a safe working environment. Safety signs and their visibility are crucial in helping employees negotiate high risk working environments.

Safety signs have to be visible to be effective. Conditions underground are generally not conducive to visibility due to dust, water, mist and extreme temperatures. These conditions combine to obscure signs and make them illegible.

Plascon’s commitment to developing solutions that are Designed for Life, has sparked an effort to help make high risk workplaces safer through paint that renders safety signs more effective.

The result is a new enamel paint that has been developed specifically for the mining industry. It dries within two hours, instead of the six hours required for conventional enamel paints. Application therefore disrupts operations for only a third of the time previously required. More importantly, the paint can be applied above and below ground, on surfaces ranging from walkways and equipment to timber and even rock faces, to ensure optimal safety.

Rolf Redelinghuys from Kansai Plascon emphasises that underground mines demand utmost caution at all times. “The high quality and robustness of our mine-marking enamel ensures that warnings and signs are highly visible underground regardless of how dusty or wet it may be down there. As a result, the workplace becomes safer for miners as they can easily identify hazardous areas and situations.” The paint is also weather resistant; an important feature in the extreme conditions that prevail underground.

Plascon’s mine-marking enamel is available in the five colours most commonly specified by mines, namely white, black, yellow, signal red and green. The product has already passed stringent product tests and approval processes at the major mining houses.

Although specifically designed for the mining industry, the fact that the paint can be applied to both steel and concrete also makes it suitable for use in the metal fabrication sector.

Plascon’s innovative new enamel product is proving that safety compliance is achieved by paying due attention to the details. Paint might not be the first thing that comes to mind in a safety discussion, but it can help to protect the mine workers that are the lifeblood of our country’s economy.