Safety company MSA Africa recently launched the MSA RIGHTfit earplug, which is a new, locally manufactured re-usable earplug.
“The company launched its first branded hearing protection, with the new range of LeftRIGHT earmuffs in late 2008, and has now launched its first ear plug, the RIGHTfit, which is green in colour with a black poly cord,” says MSA marketing director Hayley Arnesen.
Dust, noise and fall of ground are considered the three most problematic hazards in the mining industry, reports MSA.
Being continuously exposed to noise levels above 85 dB can result in permanent hearing loss, referred to as noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). About 478 cases of NIHL were recorded in 2009, reports provider of health care through company-managed facilities Harmony.
“Most individuals are not taught how to correctly insert the ear plugs. Although the noise reduction rating of a disposable foam plug is higher compared to the rating of a reusable flange plug, both are ineffective if not used correctly. Once hearing loss occurs, it is irreversible,” explains Arnesen.
“The MSA RIGHTfit ear plug is manufactured locally, which is what makes the company proud of the product. We have developed the reusable ear plug because disposable foam ear plugs need to be replaced often, and the flange plugs are re-usable, easy to wash and are easy to insert,” she says.
The plugs have a life expectancy of up to ten weeks under normal working conditions but, if not cleaned regularly, it will reduce the life of the product.
New Cap Lamp Enhances Underground Safety
MSA Africa reports that it is launching a new state-of-the-art cap lamp. As one of the company’s latest product innovations, the new Litepak cap lamp comes with a compact headpiece and new lithium polymer battery technology.
The product is a redesign of the Litepak offering, with a number of distinct new benefits. Weighing 525 g, the Litepak 1 is able to supply 20 hours of bright light and ten hours of dim light by making use of the latest light-emitting diode technology, while meeting all the SANS 1438 requirements.
The new Litepak was developed, designed and manufactured locally by MSA and has been tested extensively in applications in Africa. It has also been tested in a number of local mines, including the Tshepong mine, in Welkom, the Beatrix mine, in the Free State, the Black Mountain mine, in the Northern Cape, and the Barberton mine in Mpumalanga.
“The headpiece is designed to exceed the new impact testing and ingress protection of the new cap lamp standard. The battery is completely intrinsically safe, and meets the new testing standards,” says MSA Africa mine manager Andre Eloff.
The inherent risks associated with mining is a primary focus area for MSA Africa, which led to the development of the cap lamp, as it was noted that most injuries take place owing to a lack of light and visibility.
“MSA continues to innovate and develop safety products tailored to suit harsh local mining conditions. Its equipment can be found in every industry, whereever workers require protection. Innovative products typically combine electronics, mechanical systems and advanced materials to protect users in hazardous or life-threatening situations,” concludes Eloff.