Saving lives with the push of a button

Mining is an unhealthy industry.

Despite the physicality of some parts of it, many miners spend the day sitting behind the controls of one type of a machine or another.

This inactivity, coupled with a fairly unhealthy diet, puts miners at a higher risk of heart attacks.

In fact according to health experts around three in four miners are overweight.

Last year a number of miners were stood down from operations until they brought their weight under 120 kilograms.

There are even stories floating around of a certain mine that had chairs rated to more than a 100kg for their pre-start meetings, and that in the first meeting some of those chairs broke due to the shear weight of the miners.

The weight of these miners puts themselves and others at risk.

In October last year a 163 kilogram morbidly obese miner, who had a 'malignant' BMI of 50.8 and a neck circumference of 52 centimetres, was stood down as he was "unfit to operate due to a significant and foreseeable risk of sudden incapacity", in essence a heart attack.

If miners have a heart attack while they are operating machinery, they not only put themselves at risk, they can also endanger other, especially those that are trying to resuscitate them.

On top of this, many workers aren't trained in CPR, and for those that are, and the emergency paramedics on site, they can only perform CPR for so long before fatigue sets in.

A trained paramedic can keep up 100 compressions for sometime, however many of these are working alone on site and can only carry out CPR, and are unable to attend to any other issues such as injuries.

Now a new invention is hitting minesites to help save miners lives.

Physio-Control has begun selling the Lucas 2 automated chest compression system, which is designed to provide constant CPR to a miner who has suffered a heart attack.

The machine uses suction cups to stick to a person's chest by creating a negative pressure, and provides five centimeters of compression, with the suction cup pulling the chest up as well to allow for chest expansion and decompression.

Physio-Control's Nick Jones told Australian Mining that it has been used successfully on a man weighing 162 kilograms.

"This was the largest man that Lucas 2 has been used on and that has been successfully resuscitated," he said.

It has a three button operation system, and runs off lithium batteries that provide 45 minutes of continuous power.

Lucas can also run off mains power, a car charger, or through a helicopter or fixed wing aircraft's power supplies.

"Essentially it can be powered indefinitely," Jones said.

It is transported in a backpack, and in trained hands can be taken out of the bag and in operation within 15 seconds, according to Jones.

Lucas 2 has already been sold to three miners, he added.


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