What safety equipment will miners need in outer space?

Space mining: The next giant leap for an industry

Space mining is a pulp sci-fi idea that isn't far from becoming a reality, as increasingly companies and now countries are taking it seriously. Asteroid mining could begin within the next few years, so it's worth thinking about what this new industry might look like. Locker Group is heavily involved with traditional, earthbound mining, but what sort of role could our products play on the final frontier?

The new space race

Earlier this year, Luxembourg announced it had a fund of 200 million euros devoted to helping space mining initiatives. Luxembourg's economy minister Etienne Schneider has said that the country wants to be in the world's top ten spacefaring nations. The fund is a step towards encouraging companies to choose Luxembourg as a base of operations.

If there's no difference between up and down in space, there's no need for somewhere to stand.

One company that has taken up the offer is Deep Space Industries, an asteroid mining company that has announced plans to run a test flight next year, with the intention of launching its first space mining exploration mission before the end of the decade. Based on what Deep Space Industries has revealed, the company's mining exploits at least will be done by unmanned drones and robots, but it's hard to shake the image of something more spectacular (Armageddon and Tintin loom large in the imagination), transplanting the idea of mining as it exists here on Earth but with space suits and more lasers…

We'll leave the rockets and drones to others, but if mining in space did take place in manned facilities, what Locker Group products would they potentially need? We look at a few of the ways our equipment could help:

Flooring

For zero-gravity situations, flooring isn't much of an issue – if there's no difference between up and down then there's no real need for somewhere to stand. But what about miners working in a reduced-gravity setting, such as on the moon or a large enough asteroid? For them the need for secure footing, although different from that in today's terrestrial mines, is no less important.

In the Australian mining industry, more than a fifth of the serious injury claims made between 2007 and 2012 were caused by falls, trips and slips. This is enough of a cause for concern as it is, without the added difficulties of dealing with the unfamiliar physics of reduced gravity and no atmospheric resistance. Keeping a firm grip as you navigate gantries or walkways is made easier by one of our non-slip industrial flooring products.

Handrails

For similar reasons, handrails will be important safety equipment in our hypothetical space mine. These provide not only a secure grip for miners to hang on to, but also a place to tether themselves so that if something does go wrong and they find themselves adrift, they'll be able to pull themselves back to safety.

Space mining is a sci-fi idea that's becoming a reality.Space mining is a sci-fi idea that's becoming a reality.

Screens

The sun can be uncomfortably bright here on Earth, but that glare will be far worse out in space without any atmosphere to diffuse it. A partial solution would be a sun screen like our Atmosphere facade or wire mesh curtains, which reduce the impact of direct sunlight without too much of an obstruction to visibility. These are used on Earth for a range of industrial and architectural applications, and their affect on heat and light management would almost certainly have an application in a space mining setting.

Space mining is still a little way off, and by all accounts it won't look like mining as it does today. In the mean time, Locker Group will continue its focus on what it does best – supplying safety equipment and architectural products for use here on Earth.

If you'd like to talk about how some real-world applications of Locker Group safety products could help your business, please get in touch today.

With heat-related illness on the rise, how can you minimise its effects on your workers?

Avoid the heat with Locker Group's Atmosphere facade

As climate change becomes an increasingly pressing issue, more businesses are looking for ways both to reduce their carbon footprint and avoid the increasing cost of energy. Incorporating Locker Group's Atmosphere facade into your building is a way to minimise the impact of both and look after your workers in the process.

The silent killer

In its report 'The Silent Killer: Climate Change and the Health Impacts of Extreme Heat' the Australian Climate Council warns about the threat this phenomenon poses to Australians' health in terms of heat-related illnesses. Since 1890, the deaths caused by heat  waves outweigh the combined total of those caused by earthquakes, floods, cyclones, bush fires and severe storms combined. Record-hot days have doubled in Australia since 1960, and the intensity of heat  waves is increasing. Ensuring your buildings are climate controlled is an obvious way to alleviate the effects of heat  waves on your staff, at least while they're at work, but HVAC systems are expensive – and powering them may be increasingly unreliable.

Climate change increases the dangers of heat related illnesses.Climate change increases the dangers of heat-related illnesses.

Power price woes

In a recent report, independent think tank the Grattan Institute looked at South Australia's unexpected spike in electricity prices this July. Over the month, prices averaged AU$230 per megawatt hour – more than triple that in Eastern states – and peaked on the seventh at $9,000 per megawatt hour. An unfortunate combination of low wind, closed coal plants and the temporary lack of a backup electricity connection meant that the state was relying almost entirely on gas for its power generation, leading to a huge price surge.

Around 40 per cent of South Australia's electricity comes from wind, which is, by its nature, variable and inconsistent. And while the other contributing factors were inconveniently timed, they weren't implausibly rare. Its analysis lead the Grattan Institute to conclude that we shouldn't take power for granted – the wholesale electricity market as it currently stands may not be as secure as we would like.

The wholesale electricity market may not be as secure as we would like.

A step towards a solution: Energy-efficient buildings

You can't rely on air conditioning if the power's gone, so many business are looking to architectural solutions to maintain a comfortable temperature for staff. Buildings that make use of natural sunlight and airflow for their heating, cooling and ventilation needs will by extension rely less on electricity-run HVAC systems. This has the complimentary benefits of both reducing money spent on electricity while also reducing your business's carbon footprint. A way to achieve this is to incorporate screening media such as Locker Group's Atmosphere facade into your architecture.

Atmosphere facade

Atmosphere facade is an effective solution to the problem of how to make the most of sunlight without being overwhelmed by it. There are a range of options both for appearance and function that let you customise the product to your specific needs. Atmosphere is a facade made out of angled perforated panels floating from the building envelope on tensioned steel cables. These can be arranged in different configurations depending on whether the focus is heat reduction, maximising visibility or minimising glare. On a typical Melbourne building, having Atmosphere installed in its E2 configuration can lead to energy cost savings of 45 per cent per year (covering heating, cooling and ventilation).

Atmosphere achieves the balance of reducing heat and glare without cutting out natural light, and can be incorporated into a new building or retrofitted to an existing structure to increase its energy efficiency. Pic-Perf panels, which let you print an image onto the metal with perforated holes, can be added for a unique aesthetic appeal.

Get in touch today if you'd like to talk about how Locker Group can help you make your building cooler and more sustainable.

The future of architecture is bound by aesthetics.

Pic-Perf: Redesigning perforated aesthetics

Somewhere between 30 and 15 B.C., Roman architect Marcus Vitruvius Pollio wrote De architectura. Later published as Ten Books on Architecture, it would become the definitive treatise for conceptual design and inspire the future genius of Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and other members of the Early Renaissance.

In Latin, Vitruvius wrote that a well-designed building incorporated three elements, famously translated by Sir Henry Wotton to 'Firmness, Commodity, and Delight'. The phrase very quickly became the foundation of aesthetic design, inspiring exquisite and refreshingly unique architectural structures that pushed the boundaries of materials and technology in unison.

Now, of course, there are many options available to strengthen firmness, efficiently make use of the building as a commodity, and accentuate the aesthetic properties of a structure.

Beauty surrounds architecture and is an inherent part of its design.Beauty surrounds architecture and is an inherent part of its design.

Architectural and design harmony

The role that materials play in constructing buildings is increasingly relevant than in the past as the public voice for design aesthetics becomes more prominent. For example, buildings made entirely of glass offer a notion of positive transparency to the public from the outside, but inhabitants feel differently. A study by Urban Green Council asked: "Do tenants who live and work in all-glass buildings actually take advantage of the glass by keeping their blinds open?"

According to the results, almost 60 per cent of the window areas were covered with blinds, with the majority of all buildings in the study covering between 40 and 90 per cent of their glass windows. This represents a need for balance in materials, something Locker Group aims to provide with Pic-Perf.

A globally popular inclusion to Locker Group's architectural products, Pic-Perf allows designers to display any image they desire on perforated metal. With a unique and relocatable aesthetic design, Pic-Perf also offers new and existing structures ventilation and sunscreening, thanks to its perforated metal construction. 

Pic-Perf in action around the world

Material efficiency and beauty of design shouldn't have to be mutually exclusive.

Pic-Perf can be utilised to create a subtle backdrop for an often-used public space, or an awe-inspiring centrepiece for a business – both inside and out. One shining example of its use is in the award-winning Tip Top apartments in Brunswick East, Melbourne. 

Paying tribute to the previous use of the site – Northern and Tip Top Bakeries – the redesign of the project incorporated a number of Pic-Perf applications inspired by the project's heritage. The entrance itself displays a visually stunning representation of a horse-drawn carriage, transforming the area into a veritable work of art. 

This encompasses the future of architectural design in the present, and perhaps the solution to common issues in the construction world. Heritage or character buildings that display a sense of old-world aesthetic design are often- fought over by the public. Many wish to have them pulled down for more efficient projects, while others argue vehemently of their design importance. 

Material efficiency and beauty of design shouldn't have to be mutually exclusive, and with customisable products such as Pic-Perf, Locker Group is proving around the world that the public can experience both to the highest standard. 

Considerations for using Pic-Perf 

Perforated metal offers greater resistance to wind than solid sheeting, along with a number of other benefits:

  • Increased ventilation and airflow.
  • Greater shade protection from the sun. 
  • Clearer vision from both the inside and out. 

Most importantly, however, the image you choose has almost limitless potential. We can incorporate logos or brand symbols, a collage of images or even abstract artwork. Due to the flexibility of the design, the product is scalable to any size; Pic-Perf can be created small enough to fit in your office, or large enough to cover an entire building. 

With Pic-Perf, even the great Vitruvius would be satisfied by this ultimate synthesis of form and function. To learn more about the range of Locker Group products, reach out to our team today. 

Find out how to improve industrial workplace safety this October.

How to improve workplace safety during National Work Safe Month

This October, it's worth paying a bit of extra attention to workplace safety. We look at what National Work Safe Month means, how you can be involved and how Locker Group can help you improve the safety of your workplace with our range of industrial products.

National Safe Work Month is an opportunity for improvement

Safe Work Australia is promoting October as National Safe Work Month – an annual reminder to give more of a focus to workplace health and safety by increasing awareness and discussion. The organisation has a range of resources and information available on its site for businesses that want to get involved, including a series of virtual seminars about work safety best practice and research and development in the field. If your company is interested in taking part, Safe Work Australia is hosting a workplace participation reward program with a prize of $5,000. Case studies of previous reward winners are up on the site to inspire and encourage participation.

A safer workplace is good not only for your workers, but also for your business itself.

According to Safe Work Australia's statistics, 113 workers died in the manufacturing industry from work-related injuries between 2007 and 2012, and there was an average of 60 claims a day for serious injury or illness over the same period. While the rate of serious injury in manufacturing has dropped between 2000 and 2011, it is still higher than the average for all Australian industries.

The benefits of improving workplace safety

A safer workplace is good not only for your workers, but also for your business itself. Along with meeting the moral and legal responsibilities that you have as an employer, the Australian government says that there can be ongoing financial benefits to making your workplace safe. As well as retaining staff, you'll also reduce the costs of worker compensation and lost revenue from staff taking time off to recover from injuries.

Workplace accidents can be reduced with the right safety focused products.Workplace accidents can be reduced with the right safety-focused products.

The risk of workplace accidents can be reduced with awareness and best practice. But another way of improving workplace safety is to improve the workplace itself through careful choice of design and building materials. Fifteen per cent of serious injury claims come from falls, trips and slips – simple accidents that could be minimised through using safety-focused materials. With that in mind, here are three Locker Group products you can use to provide your workers with the safest environment possible from the ground up:

1) Gripspan Planking

Engineered with workplace safety in mind, this anti-slip industrial flooring is available with a standard or serrated tread. Gripspan Planking is roll formed, which means it can be supplied in a variety of lengths to suit your specifications, reducing the need for welded joints or rivets. We also offer Gripspan Summit kits, which give you everything you need for an OH&S compliant roof entry point.

2) Safe-T-Perf

Safe-T-Perf is an anti-slip flooring that can be used for platforms, planking or stairs. Its 360-degree skid resistance lets you keep your grip in a range of situations. Safe-T-Perf is tough and load bearing, making it an ideal choice for industrial settings.

3) Handrail

A fundamental part of safe structures, Handrails are a must for workplace safety. Stairways, catwalks, ledges and drops all need a barrier to keep workers or the public safe. Our handrails can be used in an extensive range of industrial applications.

The safety of your workers is crucial to your business, and helping you achieve it is integral to ours. Get in touch and we can talk about what products will work best for you.

Page 20 of 21« First...10...1718192021