Prospect Awards: Schenck Process Excellence in Mine Safety, OH&S

Australian Mining is proud to announce the finalists for the 2020 Australian Mining Prospect Awards.

The Australian Mining Prospect Awards Schenck Process Excellence in Mine Safety, OH&S Award recognises a mine, company, or project that has developed or carried out a program that increased safety, removes risk, or cuts worker issues on a project or mine.

According to managing director for Australia – Max Wijasuriya, safety is a key focus at Schenck Process.

“Like many of our peers in the mining and mineral processing industries, our company is on a journey toward zero harm,” Wijasuriya said.

“Our people work in some of the harshest and most demanding environments that industry has to offer. Making sure that we all get home to our loved ones in the same state that we left them, is our daily focus.

“Sponsoring the Excellence in Mine Safety category is our way to recognise and celebrate the hard work and leadership that gives the Australian mining industry its reputation of being a leader in safety.”

The finalists of the Schenck Process Excellence in Mine Safety, OH&S Award are:

BHP, Dash – Live work, eliminated

BHP has thousands of mining vehicles across its global operations and the workers that maintain this machinery make up a third of the company’s frontline.

Much of this equipment needs to be powered to diagnose faults, which is some of the highest risk work across BHP.

To minimise the risk, BHP developed Dash Maintainer Tools in partnership with Komatsu, ifm efector and Liebherr to enable technicians to complete diagnostic testing of pressure, temperature and other readings on surface mine equipment outside the line of fire.

Technicians can even read gauges from the comfort of their service truck or light vehicle so long as it is within an 80-metre radius of the equipment.

Using Dash, BHP is aspiring to eliminate live work from all heavy mobile mining equipment across their operations.

ME SAFE, long hole plug project

Lost drill rods in production up holes are a common problem in underground mining. They can also be a serious hazard to workers and equipment if they fall out of the hole without warning.

Conventional practices to alleviate the hazard are to grout or plate over the hole, which delays production and creates a false sense of security.

ME SAFE has developed a cheaper and less time-consuming solution, the long hole plug (LHP), to safely secure lost rods in the hole.

The LHP transfers axial forces from the falling drill rods horizontally into the rock mass, allowing work to safely continue with little interruption.

It removes people from being exposed as the plug is inserted into the hole remotely, keeping workers away from the line of fire.

Austar coal mine, Austar longwall remote operation

In April 2014, the Austar underground coal mine operated by Yancoal experienced the first recorded coal burst in Australian mining history.

To counter the unforeseen event, Austar developed a fully comprehensive coal burst management system for development and longwall operations, the first of its kind in Australia.

Some of the key aspects of this system include significantly upgraded engineered rib shield guarding, adaptation of overseas probe hole drilling and comprehensive micro-seismic monitoring.

By April 2019, Austar applied remote automated mining to an area of longwall panel that had been assessed as being high risk for a coal burst, enabling workers to keep clear of this zone.

Following the introduction of remote automated longwall mining, Austar experienced nil lost time injuries during the course of this method of mining.

New Hope Group Jeebropilly Mine, Fit for Change

When the Jeebropilly mine in Queensland closed at the end of 2019, New Hope had to transition more than 100 employees into new positions, the majority of which had only worked in coal mining.

Due to the broad demographic of the group, no single program would fit every employee, so New Hope identified three categories: workers retiring, those staying in mining but open to relocation or FIFO, and those transitioning to alternative careers in the local area.

Fit for Change was developed to ensure people were given the support and skills they needed, with monthly talks, regular health checks, a focus on mental and physical health and upskilling of workers.

This has led to an overall better understanding of mental health triggers, the importance of seeking support and direction in a time of uncertainty.

The full list of Australian Mining Prospect Awards finalists can be viewed here.

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