Excellence in Mine Occupational Health and Safety

MINING DAILY profiles each of the finalists in the 12 categories of the 6th annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards.

MINING DAILY profiles each of the finalists in the 12 categories of the 6th annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards.

The 6th annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards aim to encourage, recognise and reward excellence in the Australian mining industry.

This year saw record amounts of entries in several categories, including Minerals Processing Plant of the Year, Innovative Mining Solutions and Excellence in Mine OH&S.

The winners will be announced at a gala awards ceremony and dinner at Doltone House, Sydney on Wednesday 11 November 2009.

For tickets and further information please contact Heather Lawson on 02 9422 2791, or email heather.lawson@reedbusiness.com.au

Centennial Coal

Centennial Coal is a finalist in the 6th Annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards.

The company found that strain and sprain injuries account for a large proportion of Health & Safety incidents at Awaba.

Major contributors were found to be lifting 20 litre (25kg) oil drums out of standard MPV materials pods, and carrying 20 litre oil drums to the working face to service machines.

Centennial designed a 20 litre oil drum cassette to fit within a standard MPV pod, as well as designing a purpose made 20 litre drum lifting handle to complement removal of drums from the cassette and carrying of drums in ergonomically friendly manner.

Centennial found that the 20 litre oil drum cassettes helped to reduce sprains and strains by accessing drums from rear of cassette pod and also resulted in significant reduction in drum damage and eliminating potential oil spillage.

The company also found that increased size of the handle surface area from the hand pressure and the likelihood of soft tissue damage.

Dugless Machinery

Dugless Machinery has introduced an innovative occupational health and safety product that removes workers from the potentially hazardous situation of having to clean spillage and waste underneath a site conveyor system by hand.

This has seen Dugless become a finalist in the 6th Annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards.

The Dugless 900 is a low-profile, tracked, remote controlled skid steer loader, featuring a Lombardini two-cylinder fuel injected diesel engine at 12kW continuous power and remote control unit.

Combining remote controlled operations and clearance low enough to fit under a conveyor means that workers no longer have to get underneath a conveyor with shovels, brooms or water hoses to clean spillage.

According to Dugless, at 560 mm the Dugless 900 is the lowest remote controlled skid steer currently available on the world market, able to safely go places where other loaders cannot.


Scientific products and services company Dupont is a finalist in the 6th Annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards.

According to Dupont, there is evidence to suggest that as much as 1% of the coal load can be lost from the top of the open wagon as fugitive dust emissions during transportation by rail.

Lost airborne dust raises a plethora of issues ranging from health, safety and environmental concerns, to increased maintenance cost and down times, to loss of material and productivity, to factors that affect regulatory compliance and license to operate.

DuPont Dusgon dust suppression agent helps to create a temporary but robust surface layer in which the smaller particles were bound together in a 3 dimensional matrix, thereby preventing them from being blown off.

Once the 3 dimensional matrix is set, the surface layer is not affected by water.

This surface layer or crust remains essentially intact throughout the rail journey but disintegrates to become part of the coal when unloaded and does not interfere with the subsequent handling or the properties of the coal in its use.

Dynamic Braking

According to finalist in the 6th Annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards, Joncris Sentinel Services and Jan Lichos, much of the brake testing done in Australia does not comply with the Coal Mining Safety and Health Regulations.

Brake testing includes multiple methods, which can be a problem when they vary and only some excel at returning accurate and credible results.

In a joint effort between Joncris Sentinel Services and Jan Lichos, Australia’s first accredited brake testing training package evolved, called AURT572593A – Analyse and Evaluate Wheeled Mobile Plant Braking System Faults For Earth-Moving Machinery.

This training package is designed to help bring uniformity to the way brake tests are conducted throughout Australia.

The accuracy of the results obtained will be able to stand up to any scrutiny as all candidates are educated to a Certificate III level on their are testing, and the parameters that encompass measuring brake performance.

Once a candidate is competently trained, the testing outcome can be confidently repeated time and time again.

Iluka Resources

Iluka Resources has developed an Occupational Health and Safety tool that allows users to remove a shell fan without having to walk onto the kiln, which has seen it become a finalist in the 6th Annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards.

The Shell Fan Removal Cradle hydraulically elevates to the shell fan body, the assembly is unbolted and disconnected and then the cradle lowered away from the Kiln Shell.

The practice removes the hazard of walking onto the kiln, working in cramped positions, reducing heat stress and eliminates the need for a crane.

The new method also eliminates working at heights, safety harnesses, retractable lanyards and working on a heated surface above 200ºC.

The innovation was rewarded at the Western Australia Chamber of Minerals and Energy Safety and Health Innovation Awards 2009.

According to the judges of the CME Safety and Health Innovation Awards 2009, the ‘Shell Fan Removal Cradle’ could easily be integrated across the Western Australia resources sector.


Mincor is a finalist in the 6th Annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards.

In November 2007 a commitment was made to develop Mincor’s own emergency response training courses to nationally recognised competency standards associated with the Metalliferous Mining Training Package.

Mincor also identified that the on site Emergency Response Team members should achieve a formal qualification in the form of a Certificate III in Mine Emergency Response and Rescue for the courses attended.

All other core and elective modules associated with the Certificate III in mine emergency response and rescue were identified and developed as short courses for ongoing skills training sessions.

In September 2008, Mincor approached Curtin University VTEC which is a registered training organisation to have the emergency response courses mapped out to the relevant nationally recognised competency standards for compliance.

The emergency response training courses were registered and accredited which now provides Mincor with nationally recognised emergency response training courses delivered in house by qualified safety/emergency response coordinators.

OM Manganese

OM Manganese (OMM) is a finalist in the 6th Annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards.During 2008, OMM undertook an extensive $10 million exploration program at its Bootu Creek operation.

The program involved 1,265 new RC and diamond drill holes, totalling 95,000 meters of drilling.

The level of Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (“TRIFR”) was a major concern to OMM during 2008, which forced OMM to focus on changing the culture of the workforce to one of duty of care to themselves and others.

Throughout 2008 and beginning of 2009, OMM employees were actively involved in training programs which included 4 wheel driving, snake handling, and emergency response and rescue.

The company said this has reduced the TRIFR rate substantially. In June 2008, the TRIFR was 35.13, while in May 2009 the rate was 12.51, which was a substantial decrease of 64%.


Otraco has developed a system that allows tyres to be inflated while allowing workers to be removed from potentially hazardous debris, which has seen the company become a finalist in the 6th Annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards.

Traditional methods to deflate the tyre are to remove the valve assembly, cut the flexible hose, or to drive the tyre onto a spiked plate.

All of these methods expose personnel to risk of flying debris from within the tyre during deflation.

Otraco has developed a tyre spike that produces limited damage to the tyre, deflates the tyre without removal of the spike, and is easily removed from the tyre after deflation without causing further damage or injury to personnel.

The innovation removes the need for workers to enter the area and the need for personnel to become exposed to flying debris in the case of removing the valve assembly or cutting the flexible hose as undertaken in previous methods.

Robotic Automation

Robotic Automation is a finalist in the 6th Annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards. A challenging stage of the production at a nickel smelter begins as pots of molten matte are transported by gantry crane to the ‘pot tilter’ stations.

The crane places the pot into the tilter mechanism in preparation for the granulation process.As a result of cooling during the pot’s transit, a crust begins to form on the top of the molten material.

Workers traditionally have to remove the crust manually.

Robotic Automation developed a solution that would allow a single operator to sit safely away in a remote room with instant real-time control of the robots’ movement via PLC control and with reference to a bank of four video displays of the area.

The robots, MOTOMAN HP200 models with foundry-specification protection, were equipped with heat-reflective Mylar jackets and a two-metre-long, fibre-stone paddle mounted to each robot via an auto-change unit.

Xstrata Copper (Ergonomics Taskforce)

Xstrata Copper is a finalist in the 6th Annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards through its health-assessment programs, designed to monitor employees’ health, wellbeing and fitness for work.

The Ergonomics Taskforce initiative encompasses a four fold approach to preventative injury management:

• Identify high risk roles

• Address vocational component of potential injury

• Validate against data and medical records

• Recommend ways to manage and mitigate risks involved

The initiative is an outcome of the company’s Over a Period of Time (OPT) study, to identify injury patterns and sources of injury.

OPT provides insight into the characteristics and management of latent onset soft tissue injuries.

Xstrata Copper has implemented a range of measures to prevent musculoskeletal injures and minimise degenerative conditions, including risk and functional assessments; using engineering solutions where possible to minimise or eliminate manual handling; training employees in correct manual handling techniques; job rotation; and encouraging employees to engage in our wellbeing programs to improve their fitness for work.

Xstrata Ernest Henry Mine

Xstrata’s Ernest Henry Mining (EHM) is a finalist in the 6th Annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards.

Rockfalls at the EHM are a potential hazard for those working in the pit so to manage this EHM has developed strategies and processes that significantly reduce the risk of an incident or injury occurring due to a rockfall or rock-mass failure.

Early in 2009 EHM was successful in procuring and commissioning an Atlas Copco D9 Remote Operator Drill Rig this rig, which is operated remotely using radio frequencies and can be controlled from up to 150 metres away.

The rig has helped to make drilling in the pit much safer because employees can position themselves further away from high walls whilst drilling.

EHM has also employed “Softrock Solutions” — an automated slope monitoring system — so that it can monitor walls and collect data constantly and without the need for manual operation.

Xstrata Copper (Job Role Criteria)

Xstrata Copper has developed an interactive, state-of-the-art approach to employment rehabilitation and return to work processes that has earned it a spot as a finalist in the 6th Annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards.

The Job Role Criteria (JRC) document provides functional analysis of 96 roles across Xstrata Copper’s surface and underground operations with a site-specific evidence base to assist health and rehabilitation staff during patient assessments, observations and treatment methods.

JRC includes four key aspects specific to the Xstrata Mount Isa Mines site:

1. Physical performance criteria for participation in each role (including specific indicators relating to role requirements including postures, repetition, exertions, vibration, rest and duration).

2. Cognitive performance components for participation in each role.

3. Environment context of role participation.

4. Musculoskeletal Risk assessment and quantification using the Manual Tasks Risk matrix developed in conjunction with the University of Queensland.

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