On track to improve mine safety

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Ctrack managing director Jim McKinlay explains how telematics and data can increase vehicle safety standards. Safe to Work writes.

Between 2012 and 2016, 369 workers were killed by vehicle collisions across all industry sectors in Australia.

Seventy-six people died in 2016 alone, accounting for 42 per cent of all fatalities that year, according to Safe Work Australia.

Prevention of vehicle collisions is an issue constantly put under the spotlight by the Australian and global mining sector to improve safety in the industry.

According to analysis of patterns in mining haul truck accidents by the United States National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the key causes that lead to fatalities include driver error from loss of control or inadequate performance.

A standout way to prevent these risks is through the use of telematics solutions, which have been shown to improve the safety and fuel-efficiency of drivers after they received feedback, coaching and rewards, according to the US-based professional association for the mobility industry, SAE International.

The study by SAE revealed a 55 per cent reduction in unsafe events, a 60 per cent decrease in severe unsafe events and a 42 per cent decrease in speeding by applying telematics.

Telematics and data are evidence-backed methods of increasing safety by improving driver behaviour, Ctrack managing director Jim McKinlay tells Safe to Work.

Data alone, however, is not sufficient in creating safer workplaces, McKinlay adds. The data needs to be analysed for patterns that can be used to provide feedback to drivers.

“The problem is that mining companies have too much data and it’s hard to analyse,” McKinlay says.

Future accidents can be predicted by analysing data to find patterns that can limit dangerous situations that drivers encounter.

“If there’s a place that is particularly dangerous with high incidents of accidents, we can warn drivers that they’re entering a dangerous zone or divert them altogether,” McKinlay says.

Ctrack’s technologies track driver behaviour to reduce dangerous driving, such as harsh braking and accelerating, providing actionable analytics for companies to be proactive in avoiding accidents.

Immediate feedback is also provided to drivers through Ctrack’s dashboard and analytics system.

“All of the data collected from drivers provides meaningful data that companies can use to decrease accident costs, along with maintenance and fuel costs,” McKinlay says.

Ctrack’s solutions provide full fleet visibility through its fleet management software. It is communicated simply through its analytic and dashboards, allowing information to be easily understandable.

These tools are key in providing actionable insights to clients who then use it to coach and improve their drivers, increasing the safety of its fleet.

The technology also increases efficiency by 30 per cent, according to Ctrack, because of its route optimisation and job scheduling capabilities.

Ctrack’s latest Iris camera solution delivers a 360-degree view of trucks and mining equipment, especially important in mining as hazards can come from any direction.

Iris provides a live video recording of the cabin, as well as road-facing and additional external cameras.

Ctrack’s new camera capabilities and telematics solutions enable a company to keep track of its drivers and determine if drivers are suffering from fatigue, using a phone and more.

“Iris is our high-end solution, there can be multiple cameras analysing data including facial recognition and driver behaviour data,” McKinlay says.

“The data is communicated back to the companies in real time, giving them information about driver behaviour and flagging anything unsafe which can be used to train the driver later on.”

The technology also includes a safe hands-free communication system where the control room can communicate with drivers. In the event an accident does occur, the control room is notified immediately, allowing rescue staff to help as soon as possible.

Iris is the culmination of three decades of expertise and experience, with its technologies proven in other industries. Its applications range across industries from yellow equipment to airports.

“When you look at airports, there are nonpowered assets, powered assets solutions, yellow equipment and more that all utilise our technology,” McKinlay says. “All of this technology and knowledge is transferable to the mining industry.”

One death is too many in mining and technology and data are the way forward in improving safety, McKinlay stresses.

“We’re providing new and innovative technology through our analytics and dashboard systems to increase driver safety and reduce costs. We get people home safe and that’s the ultimate goal,” McKinlay concludes.

This article also appears in the October–December edition of Safe to Work.