The most dangerous area to be in any mine is around moving machinery.
Globally, close to a quarter of all mining fatalities are related directly to contact with moving or rotating plant or ‘unintended operation of equipment’.
This is an incredibly high figure for what is a pervasive aspect in every single mine – heavy, mobile machinery.
In Australia lone vehicle collisions have been responsible for 40 per cent of worker fatalities over the last decade.
The rate at which these miners are killed is simply too high.
And this in turn does not take into account the Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR), which translate directly into productivity and in turns costs on the bottom line.
Queensland latest Mines and Quarries Safety performance and Health report recorded 831 Lost Time Injuries LTI) and an LTI frequency rate of three injuries per million hours worked.
The reporting of High Potential Incidents (HPIs) was also recognised in the report as an important tool for the industry to implement strategies to manage identified risks before someone is injured, as well as assisting the Mines Inspectorate in setting priorities for improvements to safety.
HPIs have seen a marginal increase over the year: In 2013-14 there were 50 HPIs per 1000 coal miners compared with 47 the year before; 32 per 1000 workers at metalliferous mines (29 in 2012-13) and 41 per 1000 employees at quarries (43).
So what can the industry do to keep its workers safe and ensure high productivity?
The growing development of automated processes and the smarter mine is helping operators overcome this endemic issue.
Miners, in conjunction with governmental bodies, are implementing smarter approaches to safety on site, employing collision avoidance and proximity detection systems to lower injury rates.
New, highly customisable and versatile solutions from Strata Australia, using advanced NASA technology, are set to resolve the issues and aid in cutting not only fatalities, but the Lost Time Injuries associated with it.
Strata’s HazardAvert uses low frequency magnetic fields to create invisible perimeters around operating machinery, whose shape and size can be programmed during the installation of the system.
These electromagnetic market zones can be tuned to provide both ‘warning zones’ and ‘danger zones’ which can restrict vehicle movement, removing the potential for accidents to occur.
To find out more about how the technology is making the mine site safer, click here to download Strata’s free whitepaper on its HazardAvert product.