Safe To Work Wed, 17 Oct 2018 04:24:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Peabody continues to keep fire at North Goonyella under control Mon, 15 Oct 2018 23:17:35 +0000 The fire that started at Peabody Energy’s North Gonyella coal mine in Bowen Basin in early September has not been completely extinguished, though great progress is starting to show.

Little or no water vapour or white smoke came out of the mine’s one open shaft, and its underground gases levels have declined in the past two weeks.

Peabody has continued to seal the mine’s longwall panel, three of the mine’s five openings and the area where a high concentration of methane was detected.

The company also executed its multi-part plan from the surface and inject high-moisture inert gases to displace oxygen and reduce conditions for a fire.

The Queensland Mines Inspectorate said it had been on site since September 2, and would undertake an investigation into the incident.

Peabody Australia president George Schuller said, “We cannot thank the team enough at North Goonyella, where we are utilising a number of employees at site during the current phase while redeploying some to other Peabody mines.

“We also continue to express our tremendous appreciation for the Inspectorate, Queensland Mines Rescue, the union and business partners. We also have seen an extraordinary outpouring of support from neighbours and the community.”

All mine workers were reported safe, and force majeure notices have been sent to the company’s coal customers and vendors.

During a scheduled longwall move last month, black smoke came from the mine and higher gas levels were identified in an area of the North Gonyella mine.

The targeted completion of the longwall move, which was initially expected in the same month, was revised to the early part of the fourth quarter this year.

While the timeline remains uncertain, its impact will be calculated against Peabody’s third quarter earnings, taking into account the equipment that may be sealed.

Peabody will also determine the next phases of the mine’s stabilisation, assessment, mine planning, re-entry and recovery.

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Safety specialists participate in METS program Mon, 15 Oct 2018 22:48:07 +0000 The Queensland Government is working with METS Ignited to give regional METS (mining equipment technology and services) businesses the chance to showcase their early-stage products or services.

From October to November, participants can take part in the Regional Pre-Accelerator Program where they test and build offerings that are still in their early sales or testing phase.

One of the products that has been submitted is East West Lighting’s LINK N LIGHT, an industrial LED lighting system that requires no installation by an electrical personnel. This owes to the extra low DC voltage output to the LED strip lights and a plug and play flexible cabling.

Participating group Resource Industry Network said LINK N LIGHT was gaining traction with underground miners.

Other participating regions and industry groups are Rockhampton (Capricorn Enterprise), Gladstone (Gladstone Engineering Alliance), Toowoomba (Toowoomba Surat Basin Enterprise) and Emerald (Central Highlands Development Corporation). The groups will host their own pre-accelerator programs – each limited to 10 businesses – in their regions prior to the showcase.

The regional showcase will be held in conjunction with the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) State of the Sector forum on November 21, and attended by several mining houses.

Successful participants will also receive intensive workshops delivered by KPMG, which are focused on understanding customer value, value proposition and problem-solution fit.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said, “QRC is excited to add this showcase from our regions at the QRC lunch and State of the Sector forum.

“It’s a great opportunity for these innovative regional businesses to talk to a cross section of the entire resource industry.”

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LTI and fatalities can be prevented at mine sites Thu, 11 Oct 2018 01:48:40 +0000 Continue reading LTI and fatalities can be prevented at mine sites ]]> Dropsafe Global Business Development Manager Gareth Warne tells Safe to Work that a dropped object doesn’t have to cause a dent to reputation, assets or individuals.

Dropsafe global business development manager Gareth Warne is someone who is aware of the threats that come from above.

“When you walk outside and look around there’s a huge risk of a dropped object – wherever you go,” Warne tells Safe To Work.

Dropped objects are one of the three main types of struck-by fatalities in the workplace, including at mining operations.

In Western Australia, the largest mining region in Australia, 28 per cent of fatalities accounted for between 2009 and 2014 were due to workers being struck by objects, according to the Department of Mines and Petroleum.

Dropped objects are also ranked the third most common cause of human fatalities, after moving vehicles and fall accidents, as reported by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The objects might be loose items dropped by employees who are working at height, or over-stacked and improperly stacked materials that get blown away.

“I think the key to its prevention is creating awareness of the dangers in the workplace,” adds Warne. “Dropsafe is all about raising that awareness and developing solutions to mitigate that risk of dropped objects.”

“For example, a fatality may occur when an object that weighs just three to four kilograms falls from 10m.”

These dropped objects – such as overhead lights, aviation beacons, CCTVs – could be items that are designed to assist mine operations but can cause a fatality when the fixture or mounting bracket deteriorates over time.

And aside from the risk of fatality or injury, the chances of a dropped object landing on machinery or equipment are equally high.  This may result in costly downtime, expensive repairs or replacement.

Dropsafe net

Considering a mine site is commonly characterised by lots of activity, wear and tear, corrosion and vibration, Dropsafe designs 316 stainless steel mesh-safety nets to enclose overhead fixtures, 316 stainless steel security pouches to tether handheld items when being used at height, and the Dropsafe barrier system, which is installed on guard railing as either a permanent or temporary solution to prevent dropped objects.

“If someone is walking across a platform 50 to 60m above the ground, we can install the barrier system to mitigate the risk of an object falling through open guard railing and ricocheting, and potentially causing an LTI,” explains Warne.

The barrier system, recently launched by Dropsafe, has gone through three years of development, involving extensive testing and analysis, wind tunnel testing and third-party validation and certification.

“The lightweight engineered polycarbonate barrier is rated to withstand a category five hurricane, going through wind tunnel testing with sustained wind speeds of 250km per hour. Its performance in harsh environments easily surpasses other barrier systems in the market today,” says Warne.

“We have manufactured all products to be used in harsh environments, so the barrier system comes with a five-year warranty, with minimal material degradation after high UV exposure.

“That operational span can also be extended upon the customer sending back a purposely designed snippet internal of the barrier for degradation testing to potentially lengthen the installation life.”

These are the kind of drop prevention devices that Dropsafe has been delivering to protect the safety of individuals in the mining, oil and gas, and industrial and marine industries. It distinguishes them as the leader in dropped object prevention technology.

Dropsafe shows that creating a safe workplace in a safety-sensitive environment does not have to be complicated when dropped object prevention technology has been primarily created for an easy use and application.

“At Dropsafe, we have 100 per cent manufacturing quality control,” explains Warne. “Because when you work in safety, your primary focus is quality.”

The article appears in the October–December issue of Safe to Work.

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A method for improving safety in the drilling sector Thu, 11 Oct 2018 01:19:30 +0000 Boart Longyear’s Ben Redd explains how learning from mistakes, near misses and management interactions increases safety for drillers.

Life is full of regrettable moments, so wouldn’t it be great if we could share those instances so that others don’t have the same pitfalls and mishaps?

This is not a new thought as we hear so often about ‘best practices’ and have many laws, regulations, policies, and procedures that we must adhere to.

Protection, safety and security are often the underlying reason behind what we are required to do. We must abide by the law to stop at a red light not because of the threat of a ticket, but because ignoring it could bring severe consequences to ourselves, others, or property.

In the drilling industry, safety is critical. Although equipment is continually improving for productivity and safety, human supervision and interaction are still required and we know, as the English poet Alexander Pope pronounced, “To err is human…”

No one is perfect, but that is the fun of living in a world with so much variety. We would all like to think we have it all figured out, but the reality is that we always have something new to learn.

And sometimes we go through an experience and immediately adjust behaviour only to find that a short time later our habitual tendencies put us right back to before we learned our new-found experiential knowledge.

Who hasn’t been sunburned more than once, or that blister reappears because once again we didn’t use gloves when gardening?

Managing safety

So, how do we learn from our mistakes and help others learn from these mistakes so they don’t go down that same possibly hazardous path?

There are obviously many things that can be done, but here we will approach one way that has made a huge impact on improving safety for drilling activities around the world.

Boart Longyear’s environmental health and safety team (E&HS) incorporated an incident-management database system to track, report, and promote a conscientious safe working environment.

The company is not the first to use such a system, and fortunately many companies today have similar safety database systems. The premise behind the system is to reduce risk by helping people learn and change so they will practice safer behaviours and proactively address hazards before they result in an injury.

How it works

Employees are trained to report any incident, big or small, and designated employees enter all incidents, near misses, and management interactions into the incident management system.

• A gas cap is missing from a vehicle… it is typed into the system.

• A deer runs in front of the truck… even without contact, it’s entered as a near miss.

• A driller feels dehydrated and is required by his manager to go drink more water… it’s reported and entered in the system.

• An employee uses a wrench and bruises an elbow… it’s entered into the system.

Boart Longyear has introduced an app to help.
Boart Longyear has introduced an app to help.


A daily incident report is emailed out around the world. Employees review the daily incident report to make them aware of potential hazards and in turn make needed behavioural or procedural changes — now that’s continual improvement.

Recent upgrades to the Boart Longyear incident management system have included a mobile app version for ease of use, including entering data, tracking incidents, near misses, and management interactions.

An easy-to-use inspections module has also been added to the system. Information can be completed 100 per cent in the app, with or without an internet connection, and then sent to the global collection database instantaneously or when the person gets back into reach of cellular or WIFI connections.

Everyone benefits from incident reporting

We don’t know anyone that would disagree on the benefits of implementing more safety procedures to keep employees and others safe.

Even a precarious daredevil has built-in safety nets to give his audience thrills for yet another day.

Where the incident reporting system goes beyond the safety nets is that it also captures the before-unseen information for potential harm and flags it for an immediate thoughtful response.

When a company uses a safety management system, there are many advantages to the knowledge that is collected and disseminated.

The priority is safety and warning others of potential risks always helps to place harm at a well-planned distance.

Exploration and mining companies look for contractors that make safety a high priority. Lost-time incidents (LTI) are the last thing anyone wants.

It’s not only about making sure people work safely, but that they can go home to their loved ones in the same physical condition as when they reported for work.

Incident management systems do cost time and money to train on, implement, and utilise.

But that cost is small in comparison to saving a life and protecting investments. In the long run, safety and incident management systems increase productivity and keep operations running successfully.

Live a safety culture

At Boart Longyear, “Safety First” is a core value. The incident management system is a great way for all employees to share while making safety a daily focus.

Many times the system has proven to be a useful part of the repertoire of EHS tools that keep everyone responsible, accountable and safe. 

For Boart Longyear, fostering a safety culture that emphasises why we work safely is more than just a safety program — it’s the way employees work every day. No matter what you do, take time to make safety part of your daily activities.

Ben Redd is Boart Longyear’s global systems manager – environmental health safety & technology. The article appears in the October–December issue of Safe to Work.

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Companies launch programs to battle mental health stigma Wed, 10 Oct 2018 00:46:46 +0000 World Mental Health Day has seen the successful roll out of a ‘gamified microlearning’ program for miners to combat stigma around mental health.

Mental Health Australia said one in five Australians was affected by mental health every year, but many did not seek help.

To put mental health in a positive light, facilities management company Sodexo has collaborated with tech company Ed App to develop micro-learning and gamification specifically for mining employees.

Content is broken up into easily digestible bite-sized pieces, and then reinforced with games and rewards.

The interface was architected to reach an 87 per cent completion rate among Sodexo supervisors and managers.

Ed App chief executive Darren Winterford said, “Our mobile-based microlearning solution allows businesses to easily create lessons for employees to take on their mobile devices.

“The tool has complete flexibility in terms of curriculum. As it’s completely agnostic, it can be used for any subject like mental health.”

In celebrating the leaders of the resource industry, the AMMA award for workforce innovation recognised Sodexo for its initiative last month.

The ‘Investing to Save’ report by KPMG and Mental Health Australia stated that investment in workplace initiatives could save the nation more than $4.5 billion.

AngloGold Ashanti recently made a financial contribution to the $100,000 Grow Local project, which saw 29 people including miners from Goldfields graduate with a Certificate IV qualification in mental health last month.

Workers at Glencore’s Clermont and Liddell mines in Central Queensland and New South Wales, Peabody’s Moorevale mine in Central Queensland and MMG’s Dugald River mine in Queensland joined onboard to receive MATES in Mining’s training for suicide prevention this year.

In 2017, Australia lost more than 3000 people to suicides, making it the leading cost of death among people aged between 15 and 44 years old.

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