November 2005 – Denver, Colorado

November 2005 Denver, Colorado



Topics Discussed

  • Arc Flash Protection
  • Arc Flash Solutions
  • Arc Flash Hazard Checklist
  • Electrical Burns
  • Electrical Upgrades – DSC
  • Rossing Uranium
  • Eye Safety
  • Fall Protection – Klein Tools
  • Insulated Tools – Klein Tools
  • MSHA Questions
  • Setting Electrical Neutrals (DC Machines – AC Method)
  • Surface Regulations & Policies
  • The Next Generation In Surge Suppression

Group Discussions

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

Group 5

Group 6

Group 1 Discussion

There was general agreement that the Bucyrus Excavator Engineering School was beneficial.  Hands on rotating equipment training, possibly with a participating motor shop, was suggested as a future seminar.  DCS offered to give MSHA Electrical Training at the November meeting.


Discussed the importance of pass-on information.

Discussed the importance of testing safety devices such as ground check systems, safety interlocks and limit switches, especially after work has been performed on the device.  Some locations include testing safety devices during the monthly electrical inspection.

It was reported that the Atkinson Ground Check Kit comes with a jumper on the ground check contact.

New Products

One site is constructing a new shovel with the P&H Centerion Control System.

Discussed the use of data acquisition instruments and software to troubleshoot control problems and loop unbalance.  Many members of the group were familiar with Dataq instruments and WinDaq software.

Several sites are implementing remote data systems for equipment troubleshooting and production monitoring.

Problems and Solutions

One site had a problem with J&H type posi-pin trail cable terminations failing due to solder melting.  The problem was attributed to low voltage on the trail cable circuit and to use of lower rated brass pins.

Future Presentations

Remote access/telemetry systems

Jacobs Ranch major electrical upgrades on Marion 2570

GPS systems for truck dispatching and operations evaluation

Field troubleshooting/share experiences in failure analysis

Energy management

High voltage safety awareness

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Group 2 Discussion



 An overall incident rate increase has been notice in the entire industry.   Trying to identify the cause is difficult.  The new hire employees are rushed to work and may not be receiving the proper training.  Dave Mathiot discussed an incident wear an employee took a short cut and lost the end of four fingers, two on each hand.  He was trying to please the customer and instead of waiting for the proper tool, he took a shout cut. Tom O’Neal talked about being in a hurry and feeling a big push.  Also some discussion of constantly making employees aware of safety by using banners, signs, or other methods of reminders.  Mike Zimmerman stated as a vendor he can tell which mines are serious about safety by how they administered the onsite hazard training.  How serious are they?   

The overall thought was that supervisors need to make sure they follow up on what they are discussing during the safety meetings.  Borax has a program where they award employees that go 6 months with out a LTA by giving them a day off.  This helps employees to assist each other to make sure no one has an incident.  Don Cochran stated it seems the incidents are the everyday task, not the complicated task, they are performed safely.  Safety programs must be driven by the employees.  Some facilities have begun reporting near misses to help make others aware of near miss incidents.  Mike Smith mentioned that there are a lot of safety interlocks that could be improved, and at time we have found ways to beat the interlocks.


New Innovation and Technology

Mike Smith discussed an Electrical Coupling that has a spring loaded on it to assist with plugging in and unplugging circuits. These come in varied sizes up to 480v and from 15 to 200 amps.  Borax recently change out the TJB plug heads to rabbit boxes to assit the cable handling, less lifting and hopefully less injures.  New thing that Kennecott is doing for vendors in requiring to complete a check list for the area they are working so they can understand all the hazards for that area.  Dave Mathiot discussed vibration analysis has improved recently, new programs and new technology, such as MARS, NCSI and others.  We discussed the increase in using thermography and how helpful this has been.  Steve Baade talked about replacing DC mpd820 series motors with AC motors while using conventual’s gear boxes.  The down side to this is the gear box can not handle this torque.  Consequently they are currently looking at modify the gearbox to handle the addition HP.

They have installed 2 Toshiba 1750 motors to one conveyor at Caballo mine, and have been able to adjust torque to 49/51 to balance.  It was also mention the you can access the some online training at   


Problems and Solutions.

Parts are slow to be delivered in every aspect.  Simple everyday items have been difficult to find, steel, copper, etc.  Of course with high demand we will continue to see a rise in cost.  Today a 1000HP motor has an average delivery date of 14 weeks.  Another problem is qualified personnel.  This is effecting all parts of our industry.  At Coteau Properties in North Dakota, they are encouraging future electricians by giving detail tours to High School students.


Future Meeting topics

More hands on classes, class on electrical safety interlocks( Mike Smith),  Training electricians, where? How? Who?

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Group 3 Discussion


  • Rob Marnell (DCS) talked about a non-contact voltage detector manufactured by Fluke.
  • Jacobs Ranch Mine is in the running for the Sentinels of Safety Award for most hours worked without a Lost Time Accident
  • Jeff Glenney of Startco discussed that plants are starting to install a high resistance ground system at plant facilities to help eliminate arc flash
  • Group discussed the need for proper lock and tag and the need to verify all voltage sources are dead
  • Electrical Recertification classes via video conference.  Rob Marnell of DCS has received permission from MSHA to perform a retraining class via video conference and proved successful for rep in South America
  • Rich Hall talked about some companies extending safety programs outside of work site.  Company would give personnel who wore seat belt in personal car a cinnamon role and a lump of coal to those who didn’t.
  • Mark Townsend of Flanders Electric talked about a time when one blade of a visible disconnect didn’t open and the necessity to verify visible disconnect.  Vacuum contactor was open and all personnel were safe.
  • Noise issue on mobile equipment.  Tiffany Shaw of TXU talked about ear muffs manufactured by Mine Ears.  They are MSHA approved and work by producing a frequency opposite those wearer is exposed to
  • Danny Gojkovich of P&H stated that they have installed a sound absorption material on the back wall of a 4100 XPB machine at Antelope Coal (Kennecott Energy Co.) and reduced decibel level by 10.  Looking at doing this with other machine within KEC


Group agreed that BI school was a success and would like to see this practice continue.  Would like to see shovel and truck training given in same format.


Future Presentations

Ed Barnett had a phase grounded on sync motor.  Technicians were able to identify grounded phase and coils.  They cut the grounded coils out of that phase as well as the matching coils out of the other phases.  This allowed the sync motor to run until such time as a replacement could be found.

Dragline upgrade presentation by Jacobs Ranch Mine; KEC

    Rich Hall of National Carbon would do a presentation on why and how the factories set air gaps on motors and generators

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Group Discussion 4



Getting back to basics is key.  Get into the habit of looking over the job and assessing the risks.  Find a way to eliminate or mitigate the hazard.

One company uses hazard assessment sheet on their work cards.   The employees can then submit the hazard assessments and a drawing are held once a month for a prize.

Once a month safety meetings are not enough.  One company utilizes daily safety tool box meetings.

Our industry has quite a few young electricians and they need training in safety.  Don’t expect them to know the hazards within our industry.  Utilize the experience that you have in the mines to assist with training.  One vendor has experience working with the mines to assist with safety training.  Another mentioned that one site had asked him for some hats to be used as a safety award.


New Innovations

One mine is rapidly moving into wireless technology with data being transmitted from the machine to the office.  Also the ability to troubleshoot or program plc via wireless is on the horizon.  The skill level of the electricians will need to be raised to maintain these systems.

Another mine is looking at installing boom stress monitors on their dragline.  They are looking at recording a couple of months of boom stress data.  From that information they hope to be able to provide the operator an alarm when the stresses on the boom approach critical levels.


Bucyrus International Class

Feedback from students indicate that the training was excellent and would like to see this type of training continue

One vendor offered to hold a workshop during a WMEA meeting.  The workshop would offer hands on training on a Windak recorder with emphasis on mining applications.


Future Presentations

Ultra sound testing to locate loose connections

Troubleshooting methods of common faults on various control systems

Central scada system for power monitoring from the substation down to the individual equipment

Data collection. How do you sort through it all?

Mine/shop tours

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Group Discussion 5


Followed up safety share by Martin Reyes on rash of incidents at Barrick Goldstrick and underlying factors. Discussed safety record of the KEC coal mines. As of 2 weeks ago all 5 of the properties were in the running for the Sentinels of safety Award. In the same 1 week period, 3 of the mines had LTA’s dropping them out of the competition.

Martin shared that 75% of the Goldstrike incidents involved the older more experienced miners and the KEC incidents had 2 out of the 3 fell into that category. One idea for this was the newer less experienced hands were more apt to discuss the requirements and hazards of the jobs where the experienced hands were wanting to jump in and get the job done.  Most companies use safety programs which utilize Risk assessments and safe work procedures or JSA’s. I think everyone was in agreement they’re a good tool up-front to identify inherent problems with the tasks but if your hands do not read them before jobs begin they’re not very effective.

Kennecott uses a “Take Five “ program which has a card that the techs use to do an informal risk assessment before each job is started which prompts you to think about a whole list of hazards that may affect the job. This system is also used to help identify the most hazardous jobs which results in a formal risk assessment and safe work procedure where required. Does this cover all hazards ??? Not all the time. I called out to work last night and was told the guys were drilling a new de-watering well about 70’ away from an abandoned oil well. They were almost done and were in the process of pumping water into the de-watering well to clean it out when 40’ of 2” down hole steel pipe shot up into the air from the abandoned oil well. The pipe is still up in the air. They’re trying to figure that one out.

We agreed that most safety programs are evolving and changing all the time to try new ideas…the result of this is in most cases, if the changes are too frequent, the hands get information overload which can result in more incidents, as the hands are  not concentrating on the jobs in front of them but on all the standards. Our mine manager has the philosophy that our jobs can be put into a big box and the section of that box for safety has been rather large. What we need to do as a management team is to shrink that box for the hourly work force so they’re working safely and let us concentrate on the compliance issues. This has been really effective at Cordero as I think we recently went 446 days before our last LTA.

Discussed some other programs the mines are using to reduce accidents. Both Phelps Dodge and Kennecott have introduced hand glove programs which have helped reduced hand injuries significantly. The gloves range from cut-proof Kevlar to leather gloves. Remember MSHA requires the use of gloves in CFR 77.1710.

Tom Buto with National carbon has observed electrical safety has become very visible. Recently attended a corporate budget meeting where the CEO talked for an hour on safety and let everyone know safety is definitely a concern. Their Greenville Plant went over 4 years without an LTA when that run was ended by a strange incident. They had some refuse stacked outside the plant for awhile and when they were removing the piles, one of the workers was bitten by a Black widow spider which resulted in an LTA.

We had a short discussion on NFP70E. Phelps Dodge has a safety team working on the implementation and have done the arc fault/arc flash studies internal. Should be done mid-2006. One thing to be aware of is the increase in the clothing allowance budget.

National Brush has a Safety Buck program where the employees get annual safety bucks but also if they submit safety ideas and those ideas get implemented, they get recognition and bucks for them. Safety Bucks redeemable at the company store. Kennecott also uses the safety bucks but recently gave employees safety debit cards which seems to more popular because you can use them anywhere.

One observation made was that companies seem to cut safety incentives when the economy is down. Gives the appearance safety is not a company value but tied to the bottom line. Sends the wrong message.

Discussed the shortage of skilled craftsman to fill all of the current job openings let alone the aging workforce who will be retiring in the not too distant future. We all need to be supporting the Tech schools as much as possible. Appears to be a lack of incentives or the right incentives to attract the younger kids. This trend appears to be worldwide.

BI school feedback was very positive.

Group would like to see future meetings where one day devoted to possibly 4 separate ½ day classes/presentations etc. where you could pick 2 to attend. This may require adding a day to the WMEA meeting but would be a way to justify sending more technicians to participate for the training.

Would like to see some presentations on troubleshooting both rotating equipment and controls/drives. Presentation on NFP70E, National Brush volunteered to do a ½ day on brush related material, KEC has an operator simulator which can be programmed to train operators on 830E haul trucks, dozers, blades shovels etc. I know they have helped to significantly reduce the number of overspends and overshoots which we all know reduces the number of wheel motor flashovers, turn and undercuts and in some cases catastrophic failure of the armatures. If there is enough interest for this, we’ll try to get it scheduled for a future meeting.

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Group Discussion 6



BUCYRUS sponsored training offered the two days previous.  All participants felt that the school was a good thing.  The material was presented in a professional.  There may have been a bit too much on the power system design. It was a general consensus that it would be a good thing to continue based on our manpower situation. (any training in mining is GOOD) Gary Soreson – Indicated that DCS and Flanders were working on a course that would include hands on as well as theory.  They would charge a fee for the training for four or five days and likely be in Casper, WY area. More information to come.



LUSCAR Genesee Mine has achieved 17 years with no lost time accidents.  Staff of 100 people delivering 4.5 million tons of ROM coal per year. There is a true dedication to Safety through out all personnel on the site. LUSCAR Corporately has achieved 1 year with no lost time accidents.  Staff of 1200 people operating at nine different mines.

Bill Lariviere asked if there is any program that could be offered to vendors so the would not have to take orientation at every mine site they visit.  We discussed the role of the Oil Sands Safety Association in Fort McMurray, Alberta.  They have a system that accredits the various training organizations to a single standard with respect to oil sands workers.

Merv Savostianik asked about how  NFPA 70E is being addressed at the mine site level.  There seems to be a lot of confusion as to how far we will need to go, each site has a different view but all agree that there is a lot of good going to come out of the regulations. Steve Reimers mentioned that he was a part of a group within his organization that has been tasked with reviewing the 70E requirement and making recommendations to management on how to best adopt the standard.

Steve Reimers discussed his involvement in creating standard jobs and common procedures from field level risk assessments to train new workers and refresh the more experienced workers.       General concerns were raised that the experienced workers are sometimes the ones that cause the accident because they have become complacent in their work practices.



Discussed a dragline refit at Genesee Mine, a Marion 8200 series six PLC was removed along with the DOM plus generator field excitation packages and replaced with an Allen Bradley ContoLogix 5555 PLC and Siemens Masterdrive digital field excitation packages.  It was a very successful overhaul with only one complication which was the ethernet switch which had to be replaced.

Merv Savostianik discussed the introduction of resistance grounding at higher voltages, 69kV and 72KV  to minimize the possibility of ground potentials between transmission and distribution systems.

Steve Reimers asked if anyone else had problems with the ‘Atkinson’ ground check relays.  All agreed that there was a very long lead time and they were getting harder to find.  Merv from Startco mentioned that they build a conversion kit to their relays.

Discussed the installation of boom stress monitoring on a Marion 8750 (410foot boom) by WBM .



How do we address the NFPA 70E requirements, from a mining perspective.  What do we need to buy and how do you use it.

Presentation on grounding of mine electrical systems, including good descriptions of ‘HOW, WHY, WHERE’

High line safe work practices equal potential bonding and grounding practices, possibly presented by a utility company safety representative.

Wheel motor fundamentals and maintenance, possibly LeTourrneau, GE or Komatsu


Arc Flash Data Sheet ERS – Nov 05

Electrical Upgrades – DCS – Nov 05

Insulated Tool Presentation – Klein Tools – Nov 05

Setting Neutral via AC Curve Method on DC Machines – Flanders – Nov 05

Surge Suppression – Raycap Corp. – Nov 05

Event Details

Start date: 11/01/2005