Tampering in Russia mine blast

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by whitecity, Apr 17, 2007.

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  1. Sergey,

    Any comments from an insider?

  2. Thank you Whitecity for this thread. Recently I two time visited this region - Kemerovo area. Moreover, I have a projec (industrial automation of coal processing plant in the city of Belovo, not far away from the place of the tragedy).

    I had a conversation with a former coal miner (he spent 14 years underground). The man has friend died in the mine.

    Safety system was installed by small (maybe even tiny) British firm Davis-Derby. Many years ago it was well known but after the closure of many British coal mine it essentially lost this market. The firm agreed to install its system in 9 Russian coal mines for 2 millions BP (=100 millions roubles). The former mined told me that the system was unstable. There were many false signals. But it is relatively cheap.

    Sorry... Our Israeli friend arrived (an engineer from Jerusalem) and I has conversate with him about mutual progects in electro-eneretics.

    I continue later.
  3. Its more likely that the equipment was misused rather than faulty.
    Gas in a ventilated mine travels, if an alarm is triggered its because gas is present, it may not be there 20minutes later when somebody comes along to reset the monitor but it more than likely was when it triggered the alarm.
    Its pretty much proven by the fact that the detectors were covered/rendered useless and then a a gas explosion occurred.
    Long hard experience with mine disasters in Britain led to considerable expertise in mine safety, despite the fact we no longer have a mining industry there is still a global market for mining products and the technical knowledge hasn't disappeared.
    I would think the false signal comment is an excuse, I have used gas monitoring equipment underground (for fun), its reliable even in its cheapest form. If you wrap up the detector to prevent it sampling gas then it cannot work, justifying that by saying it was prone to false alarms is bollox.
    In the 19th and early 20th century in Britain many shortcuts and risks were taken to keep production up, exactly the same as would appear to have occurred in this incedent.
    If the gas monitoring equipment was rendered useless then that is the one over-riding factor to blame for the accident.
    In the event that a glitch in the system did occur and it told you there was methane when non was present then working practice should have been to monitor the problem by alternative methods, simply over-riding the equipment is the stupidest option available.
    Don't blame the equipment, prosecute the muppet who disabled it, assuming he is still alive.
    Go have a read of some of the Mining Disaster reports from this country, learn from the mistakes and accidents we had a 100 years ago.
    Proper management would have prevented this accident, end of
  4. http://www.davisderby.com/news_detail.asp?ID=54

    I understand that too few of ARRSErs aware about PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers) and SCADA systems but your obedient servant knows about them a lot.

    First of all there are World leaders in PLC. They are


    I work mainly with MODICON (now the brand belongs to French Schneider Electric). They are highly reliable PLCs (as other brand-name PLCs). Brand nme PLCs are being produced in tens and hundreds thousands. So they are well-tested. What can I say about 'home made' Davis Derby PLCs? Nothing. It is new hardware that hasn't been installed in USA, Australia, Canada... only in Russia and China.

    As for SCADA system (computer based monitoring program)


    Then there are World leaders. For example American firm Wanderware with its fantastically popular InTouch (more than 300,000 installations). There are other well known firms and their SCADA-systems Genesis (Iconics) Fix (Intellution), WinCC (Siemens), Monitor-Pro (Sneider Electric). All of them are proven and highly reliable.

    So I believe that in American coal-mines nobody is aware about Davis Derby. Typically Allen-Bradley controllers (PLCs) are being used along with InTouch (for example).

    I heard (I underline it) from a person who knows the situation that British made safety system worked at least not nice. What is the reason? I don't know the answer. I can only make some suppositions.

    Of course a function to switch-off power in the mine (in the case of high methane level) could be deactivated. But monitoring system must be on-line anyway. The whole top management of the coal-mine went undeground being sure that it was absolutely safe. So monitoring system didn't work properly. Why? Unlikely methane sensors were deactivated. Rather there was a fault with sensors or/and with PLCs. It was possible that there were problems with 'home made' SCADA system.

    Anyway, a chief engineer of the mine (he died) was guilty.

    As for official versions then the main objective of officials is to create the most comfortable version (no matter it is true or not).

    Just few weeks before the blast special commision checked the safety system and said that it is OK. So how it is possible now (for the officials) to say that the system was not quite good?

    Sorry, for lengthy and likely uninteresting post. But if even one would read it then it would be worth to post.
  5. Highly interesting subject, but only to a few of us I guess.
    if you read the link PTP posted KGB you will see it states that "somebody" had covered the Gas detection equipment to prevent "false alarms".
    The long and the short of it is if the gas detection equipment was covered up, it simply cannot function and detect methane in the atmosphere.
    The effectiveness, or lack of, the equipment in this case looses its relevance as somebody saw fit to ensure it could not work anyway.
    The equipment was deliberately incapacitated, had it been left alone it would have done its job (although some claim it was doing its job when it did not need to it would still have warned of the presence of methane and prevented the disaster.
    Historically these events are common around the world, what makes it unforgivable is that the equipment to help prevent it was deliberately incapacitated

    Further reading on past mine disasters
    It is sad that around the world the same mistakes and accidents continue to happen
  6. I know about the official version. But I don't believe that the whole management of the mine went undeground being aware that Gas sensors were covered. Covered sensor produces a steady line but real one - rather a randomly changed curve. The safety system should anylise this situatio to detect failed (or covered) sensors.
  7. Either way this was a tragic event that seriously impacted the region and my heart goes out to the folks who lost their husbands, brothers, and fathers.
  8. History is littered with Mine managers and deputies that have done exactly this kind of thing to increase production.
    Pressure to maintain production has often overcome safe working practice.
    Frequently in mining disasters in Britain all of the mine management have died, if not in the initial accident then in the subsequent rescue attempts.
    If the gas detection system was tampered with then it could not perform its function as designed.

    It appears that one of two things happened-

    A. The monitoring system failed and there is an official cover-up
    B. Somebody deliberately incapacitated the monitoring system for the sake of convenience

    Both would lead to undetected methane levels and could be held responsible for the accident. You are more aware of the local circumstances KGB, what do you think more likely of the two options?
  9. Thank you Khyros.