Digitalisation and smart mines, Features, Innovation, Work health and safety

Beating fatigue with Bodytrak

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Bodytrak keeps miners alert and safe when they need it most.

Between long shifts and constant stimuli, working on a mine site can take its toll. Even the most capable miner can fall victim to fatigue.

Operators may already have ways of monitoring alertness, but traditional methods like surveys and eye-tracking cameras can often take too long or are too unreliable to be as effective as needed.

Bodytrak offers an alternative on which workers can rely.

An in-ear wearable device capable of monitoring individual physiological responses, Bodytrak sends instant alerts to workers and supervisors when there’s a risk of fatigue.

According to Bodytrak’s senior physiologist James Davis, actionable real-time data that enables early intervention is the key to preventing incidents and even fatalities due to fatigue.

“Bodytrak’s ability to continuously monitor physiological responses, such as heart rate variability [HRV], offers valuable insights into worker fatigue levels, enabling supervisors to intervene promptly when signs of fatigue are detected,” Davis told Safe to Work.

“This proactive approach helps mitigate the risk of accidents and injuries caused by fatigue-related errors, ultimately enhancing workplace safety and reducing downtime.”

HRV is the measure of variance in time between consecutive heartbeats. It indicates the function of the autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary physiological processes. 

Low HRV means the autonomic nervous system is not functioning efficiently, and the body may be fatigued or under significant stress.

“Through our in-ear wearable device, we are constantly monitoring HRV to determine a fatigue score,” Davis said.

“If the user exceeds pre-set thresholds – meaning they’re at risk – they will receive an audio alert via their earpiece and their supervisor will receive an alerts via the Bodytrak dashboard and/or SMS, email and WhatsApp, so they’re aware action needs to be taken before a serious incident occurs.”

With fatigue scores based on each individual’s data, nothing is subjective or left to chance.  

In 2023, the NSW Resources Regulator investigated incidents where fatigue was an influencing factor. This included a worker on his 20th consecutive 12-hour shift who was involved in a light vehicle rollover on a mine site, prompting warnings about the dangers of fatigue.

“Bodytrak’s data analytics capabilities allow Australian mining operations to identify patterns and trends related to fatigue incidents, enabling them to optimise work schedules and allocate resources accordingly,” Davis said.

“The insights from Bodytrak can inform targeted training programs to educate workers on recognising and managing fatigue, fostering a culture of safety and responsibility within the mining workforce.”

Where mine sites typically have multiple unintegrated monitoring devices, Bodytrak is a one-stop-shop solution tracking fatigue, heat stress, falls, lone working, and noise induced hearing loss.

The user’s geolocation at any given time is also instantly accessible when support is required, as are geofencing capabilities that control and restrict access to hazardous areas.

The Bodytrak solution consists of an earpiece and a communications pack smaller than a standard smartphone, suitable in even the most challenging environments.

“When the accurate and reliable data is captured it can be invaluable,” Davis said. “The ability to capture insights into users’ physiological responses in real-time can ensure mine sites take a proactive approach to health and safety.” 

This feature also appears in the March-April issue of Safe to Work.

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