Safe To Work September 2021

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Dust control Suppressing the dangers


Health & wellbeing

Materials handling

Eye safety

Workforce management

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old miner Newmont and the Northern Territory faced one of the Australian mining industry's biggest challenges of the year so far when the worker tested positive for COVID-19 in June. The Northern Territory Government quickly decided that a 48-hour snap lockdown was needed to protect its people. Newmont, meanwhile, had to help manage the 900 or so FIFO workers who were required to test and isolate because of the case. The response from all parties involved was necessary given the risks of COVID-19 spreading throughout the workforce or into local communities. And how they reacted should be commended as the spread was effectively contained. It also reflected the strong COVID-19 protocols that were put in place across Australia’s mining industry last year. But the impact of this situation is bigger than limiting the spread of COVID-19 – the


mental health of the workers also needed to be a priority. The mining industry has increased its efforts to manage the demands that a FIFO lifestyle has on mental health over the past decade or two. Research has found that long periods of separation from family and friends, as well as a lack of focus on wellness and comfort can seriously affect FIFO workers. COVID-19 has intensified the risks to worker mental health, as state and international borders have closed, and more extreme incidents like what happened at Tanami have occurred. As readers will learn in this edition (pages 20-23), a new national mental health framework for resources and energy employers has been unveiled by the Australian Resources and Energy Group AMMA. The framework supports the industry’s shared commitment to mental health and psychological safety across workplaces, including as they navigate the added disruptions

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from the COVID-19 pandemic. Encouragingly, this framework isn’t the only mental health initiative that has been introduced by the mining industry to recognise the impact of COVID-19. Mining has been fortunate to remain an essential service throughout the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean the mental health of its workers should be overlooked.

Ben Creagh Managing Editor

FRONT COVER Image: Sy-Klone International

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In this issue Features 16 Liebherr puts fatigue in mining to rest

Avoiding accidents by keeping workers alert

20 COVID-19 crisis shines a light on mental health

Mining framework for mental health improves wellbeing

24 Keeping fugitive material in place

Well-designed conveyor loading zones prevent spillage

28 Giving operators a breath of fresh air

Advanced protection to protect workers from dust exposure

30 Tailoring the best solutions for dust control

A complete solution for dust suppression at mine sites

32 How to know when a hopper is full

Solving dust accumulation hidden in hoppers

34 Reduce dust, achieve

exposure reduction targets

Cabin air quality and monitoring solutions meet high standards

20 36 Smarter, safer AI-driven


mining fleets

Advanced technologies enhance fleet management

The heat is on to stay safe

Investigative services for fires at mine sites

48 Advanced tech lights up fire suppression capability

38 COVID-19 screening a

High-tech fire suppression systems gain industry presence

test of time

Keeping mine workforces protected and tested

50 LIVINWell program aims to normalise the conversation

40 Pandemic highlights

Mental health tour engages with students across Australia

the importance of a safe workforce

Automation and technology pave the way out of COVID-19 storm.

52 Eye safety options for prescription glasses

Protective eyewear meets style and comfort

44 Australian-made products strengthen safety

Plastic conveyor guards encourage safer maintenance









News Newmont pushes COVID-19 vaccine importance Newmont has stressed the importance of COVID-19 vaccinations after the company’s Tanami gold mine in the Northern Territory was placed under care and maintenance due to an outbreak at the site in late June. Newmont president and chief executive officer Tom Palmer said the global pandemic would continue to provide a challenge for the company for some time. “Our commitment to protect the health and safety of our workforce and host communities remains our top priority,” he said. “We believe that the COVID-19 vaccine

is critical in combating the spread of the virus. We are encouraging our workforce to get vaccinated as soon as they become eligible and we are working with our local communities and host governments to improve availability and deployment at all of our managed operations. “These efforts are supported by our Global Community Support Fund, which is seeking to help with vaccine rollout, vaccine education, and awareness campaigns.” Palmer said until the vaccine is available to everyone around the world, Newmont’s people and operations,

which include Tanami and Boddington in Western Australia, will continue to be affected by COVID-19. “Recent outbreaks have shown just how difficult this pandemic continues to be, testing our protocols and the resilience of our people and systems,” he said. “As we look ahead, toward the second half of this year, we will remain diligent in supporting the vaccination efforts that is so urgently needed around the world. “And we encourage everyone to get their vaccine as soon as they’re eligible, ensuring that we are all doing our part to end this global pandemic.”

Rio Tinto reaches 30 months fatality free are with Nico’s family and we are offering ongoing support to his family, friends and colleagues.” Rio Tinto chief executive Jakob Stausholm said while the safety side of the operation was positive, the company acknowledged challenges over the first half of the year. “Safety is our first priority and our performance in this area remains robust in challenging conditions,” Stausholm said. “However, as identified shortly after my appointment, operationally we are not where we want to be.

“Our first half performance has reaffirmed my belief that we have identified the right priorities to strengthen the business: to become the best operator, strive for impeccable ESG credentials, excel in development and secure a strong social licence. “We have made initial progress against our priorities, but a large volume of work remains to make Rio Tinto even stronger, so we can continue to deliver superior returns to shareholders, invest in sustaining and growing our portfolio, and make a broader contribution to society.”

Rio Tinto is remaining diligent with its COVID-19 response.


Image: RioTinto.

Rio Tinto has reiterated its focus on the safety of its communities and people amid the latest wave of COVID-19 in certain parts of the world. According to the company’s second quarter results report, Rio Tinto has now exceeded 30 months without a fatality on site. “We continue to prioritise the safety of our people and communities as some regions experience a resurgence of COVID-19,” the company stated. “We have exceeded 30 months without a fatality on site, but our all injury frequency rate (AIFR) of 0.39 has seen a slight increase versus the second quarter of 2020 (0.37), and prior quarter (0.35), which underlines that there is no room for complacency. “Our colleague Nico Swart was tragically killed in a shooting incident whilst driving to work at Richards Bay Minerals in South Africa on May 24. Our sympathies

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News Newcrest shaken up by Cadia seismic event Newcrest Mining reported no injuries after a localised seismic event occurred at the Cadia gold operation in New South Wales. The company confirmed all personnel working in the area where the seismic event occurred are safe and accounted for. It occurred at around 4am on July 2 at the eastern end of Panel Cave 2. According to Newcrest, initial inspections found that previous investment in ground support prevented damage to infrastructure. However, roadways and ground

“A geotechnical report will be sent by Newcrest to the regulator today for approval to commence rehabilitation activities in the affected area.” The company confirmed its copper and gold production will not be impacted by the seismic event. Newcrest was still able to commission its planned semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mill for Cadia’s Concentrator 1 despite the incident. In the March 2021 quarter, Newcrest achieved its lowest ever quarterly allin sustaining cost (AISC) of negative $US160 ($205) per ounce at Cadia.

support near the junction of two extraction drives suffered damage along with minor ground damage to a ventilation rise. Newcrest stated mining operations, development activities and aboveground operations in all other areas of Cadia remain online and have not been interrupted. “Newcrest has been working with the New South Wales Government Resources Regulator and a prohibition notice has been established around the affected area only,” Newcrest stated.

Coal mine narrowly avoids conveyor accident The NSW Resources Regulator has recommended further maintenance and testing of remote isolation systems following a dangerous incident at an underground coal mine. The incident involved a remote isolation system activating a belt where an unaccounted person was standing due to a faulty remote isolation point. This occurred during a maintenance event where two separate maintenance crews were working at the underground coal mine’s long wall belt. The first crew (at point five) isolated and locked out using a remote isolation system, while the second crew (at point three) did the same at a separate location in the underground mine. According to the regulator, a worker from the first crew called the control room operator to start the belt when they removed their locks and isolation. When the belt started, a person from the second group was

The regulator has encouraged a review of maintenance and testing.

standing on the belt. No injuries occurred, as another worker pulled the lanyard which operated a switch and stopped the belt. A preliminary investigation from the regulator has uncovered that the remote isolation point had internal damage which made it ineffective. The regulator has encouraged mines to review the maintenance and testing of remote isolation systems. “Workers should be trained to identify when remote isolation has been successfully applied and when it has failed,” the regulator stated.

The event occurred in the week ending July 2, 2021 when 32 incidents were reported in New South Wales. In May, a dozer and excavator collided at the Maules Creek coal mine in New South Wales. An investigation from the NSW Resources Regulator said the mining sequence was altered which caused the dozer blade and excavator to collide. Elsewhere, a dump truck’s rear wheels plunged into the ground at an open cut coal mine while tipping a load at a New South Wales coal mine, which also occurred in May.


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News More support needed for mental health: survey

Mental health is a concern for many mine workers.

Almost one third of mining employees experiencing mental health problems believe they are not feeling supported by the company they work for, according to a Mining People International survey. Of the 85 per cent of respondents who said they had experienced mental health problems while working in mining, 68 per cent said they felt their company had offered genuine help. That means just under one third, or 32 per cent, of employees experiencing mental health problems aren’t getting the support they need. Last month, the Mining People poll asked mining industry employees about their experiences with mental health in mining. Specifically, it asked whether they felt their company had been supportive and proactively offered genuine assistance.

While only 33 people responded to the poll, results show those who have an interest in mental health in mining are more likely to fill out a survey on the issue. According to an International Mining People statement, the results do not suggest that 85 per cent of people in mining have experienced mental health issues. In October, Newcrest Mining introduced a program called Thinking Well to address mental health and the challenges COVID-19 has had on its employees. This follows company health and hygiene reviews that were aimed to identify risks to people, including mental health illness, musculoskeletal disorders and acid mist. Mental health is part of the company’s three pillars of health, hygiene and wellness framework.

Regulator urges industry to review safety controls The New South Wales Resources Regulator has released its findings for a fatal incident at the Snapper mineral sands mine in August 2019. The incident involved a 47-year-old contractor who was injured when a Caterpillar D10T dozer collided with his light vehicle. It occurred after the dozer operator made a radio request for the 47-year-old to retrieve his water bottle from the crib room at the mine, which was followed by a radio communication to meet at a light tower at the site. The dozer operator waited for the 47-year-old at the light tower before receiving another radio communication, when the 47-year-

old requested that the operator “track back to the light tower”. The dozer operator checked his left, right and rear windows and rearview mirror before reversing back 10-15 metres and impacting the 47-year-old in his light vehicle. “The DZ 813 operator immediately called an emergency using the dozer’s radio and a response was activated,” the regulator stated. “Several co-workers attended the tip head and rendered assistance, but it was apparent that (the) injuries were fatal. Emergency services were notified and attended the scene.” The NSW Resources Regulator has made several recommendations in

its investigation into the incident. This includes the encouragement of mine operators to monitor, review and audit procedures to ensure safety controls for light and heavy vehicle interactions, segregate light and heavy vehicles in active tip heads through the use of parking bays, installation of visual aids in heavy vehicles and to provide workers with blind spot instruction and training. The regulator also recommended that workers required to operate mobile plants have to comply with mobile plant separation and positive communications, while they should never enter work zones of operating heavy vehicles.


News Ok Tedi vaccination program on track Ok Tedi Mining is aiming to achieve herd immunity through its testing and vaccination program to ensure staff, contractors, Tabubil town residents and the local community in Papua New Guinea (PNG) are protected from COVID-19. As of July 20, 2733 staff and contractors have received the vaccine, with 301 fully vaccinated after receiving their second jab. This represents 23 per cent of the workforce receiving at least one dose. PNG recently recorded its first Delta variant positive case, leading Ok Tedi management to review its management response plan to manage an outbreak of the Delta variant at its operational sites. With a steady vaccination uptake, Ok Tedi aims to achieve herd immunity before the end of the year to enable the operation and people’s lives to return to some form of normality.

Ok Tedi’s workers can voluntarily decide to be vaccinated.

department which is contributing to the increase in testing and vaccination numbers at Ok Tedi, and I commend the team for their efforts.” The vaccination roll-out program commenced on May 21, 2021 and is conducted at all Ok Tedi operations sites including Tabubil, Kiunga, Bige, and Port Moresby. Since July 5, vaccinations have occurred daily from Monday to Saturday at Bige, Kiunga, Tabubil, and from Monday to Friday at the Folomian Mine/Mill clinic. A random testing program is also in place and progressing well.

Ok Tedi managing director and chief executive officer Musje Werror said the company is doing all it can in line with its duty of care culture to protect the workforce, residents and the communities, “We encourage everyone to also show their personal duty of care and come forward to get tested and vaccinated through our random testing and vaccination roll-out programs,” he said. “We have an ongoing vaccine awareness program led by the Tabubil Hospital team and the communications and public relations

Resources industry leaders prioritise workplace wellbeing Wellbeing has been rated as the most important priority by the global energy and resources (E&R) industry in the latest Deloitte Human Capital Trends report. The sixth report in the series from Deloitte found that 85 per cent of the energy and resources industry leaders surveyed regard wellbeing as important or very important to their organisation. However, the survey also revealed that the industry is falling behind when it comes to redefining work to keep pace with the rapidly expanding foothold of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and automation in the workplace. Just 31 per cent indicated a

readiness to tackle these challenges, according to Deloitte, despite 76 per cent recognising it as a priority. Deloitte Australia energy, resources and industrials human capital lead partner, Julie Harrison, highlighted that many in the energy and resources sector were dealing with fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) work arrangements, true globalisation and exploration, expansion taking place in developing countries, and diversity and inclusion issues. Therefore, Harrison said it was perhaps no surprise employers in the industry were investing in wellbeing programs to support employees and also deliver a greater productivity dividend.

“The rapid expansion of these programs is reflective of wellbeing, as both a social responsibility and a talent strategy, becoming increasingly important,” Harrison said. Harrison added: “Interestingly, we see AI, robotics and automation still rated relatively low by the industry, despite robotics in particular taking a significant foothold in the industry over the past 12 to 18 months. “However, whilst many across the industry might be automating today’s processes, they won’t necessarily reap the real rewards available from redefining how work could be delivered in a fundamentally different way to drive greater productivity.”


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INCREASE SAFETY AT MINE OPERATIONS LSM CabSense is a driver and occupant fatigue, distraction and behavioural monitoring camera designed for a mobile or stationary vehicle fleet. The device uses a unique inward facing IR camera that detects driver events such as drowsiness, distraction, identity and dangerous actions, providing real-time driver alerts, as well as tailored fleet manager alerts and insights sent to the LSM FSM Fleet Safety Manager telematics system. The detection of driver state, behaviour, driver ID and camera status enable life-saving and cost-saving features to the fleet and its drivers. The device is equipped with self-monitoring capabilities to detect tampering and other malfunctions which may have an adverse effect on its operation.



A BREAKTHROUGH IN HELMET TECHNOLOGY The new 3M Speedglas Welding Helmet G5-02 features the world’s first curved auto-darkening welding lens. Perhaps the most significant leap forward since the brand released the first auto-darkening welding helmet in 1981, Speedglas Curved Glass Technology serves to maximise the natural range of vision to create a 100 per cent wider field of view. While in the past a larger field of view would involve the compromise of a larger, heavier, and more cumbersome helmet shell, the G5-02 lens allows the best of both worlds – wider views in an incredibly slim, lightweight helmet. The curved shape of the welding lens closely mirrors the welder’s face to increase peripheral vision, improve overall weight distribution, and narrow the profile of the helmet.


CUT THROUGH CONFUSION WITH SHOWA Showa has responded to updates in international standards for protective gear, backed by 70 years of unrivalled protection and innovation. The equipment manufacturer has cut through the confusion as outdated standards ask the industry to step up its game as soon as possible. Showa’s gloves are resistant to nicks, cuts, burns and liquids, allowing users to get the job done with the protection they need. The gloves are available worldwide in a range of resistance levels, all in line with the refreshed industry standards. Showa’s range of gloves use materials such as polyurethane, foamed nitrile, stainless steel, aramid, spandex and latex to ensure it has a glove ready for any heavy industrial application.


CIRLOCK KEEPS DUST AWAY FROM COLOUR-CODED PADLOCK RANGE Cirlock’s lockout tagout padlocks come in eight different colours, enabling individual locks to be easily recognisable for workers. While red is primarily used for personal lockout, other colours can be used to indicate supervisors or different departments. Cirlock padlocks can also be personalised with photos, names and phone numbers or branded with a company logo. To accompany the padlocks, Cirlock has released a range of padlock dust covers. They help prevent dirt, dust and insects from jamming padlocks, giving them a longer life on site. The dust covers are neat and practical, and the unique design also allows users to view the padlock labelling or ownership notes. Cirlock padlock dust covers can be purchased with the padlock or retrofitted to all Cirlock Safety Lockout Padlocks (except the SLP-150 series).



Fatigue management



s one of the largest OEMs operating in the mining industry, Liebherr is constantly developing new and innovative solutions for the mining industry. All of the machines in Liebherr’s portfolio feature a range of industry-leading safety systems and technologies to protect operators and workers.

The commitment to promoting a safer industry is bolstered by Liebherr’s strong foundation of workers who live and breathe the OEM’s dedication to encouraging safe practice. Liebherr-Australia executive general manager customer service – mining, Tony Johnstone, says it’s in the company’s DNA to ensure safety is a key part of its workforce’s day-today activities.

Liebherr-Australia’s workforce is committed to operating safely.


“At Liebherr, safety is not just one person’s responsibility, it’s everybody’s,” Johnstone tells Safe to Work. “The key is engagement from the most senior of our leadership positions down. “We see safety as being part of everybody’s role. Visibility and active participation by all of our leadership groups is imperative to our strategy for a safe work environment and desire for a safe work culture.” Liebherr-Australia’s Mt Thorley branch in New South Wales reflects how the company’s top-down approach to safety is put into action by its workers. Lyndia Wombold, Liebherr-Australia’s NSW regional manager customer support, says the Mt Thorley branch is constantly looking for ways to enhance its safety culture. This has included a safety culture survey on what would make the biggest impact or improvement across multiple categories. “There’s good safety culture at the branch. Employees are encouraged to report incidents and hazards. We’re always seeking opportunities to improve the way we do things,” Wombold says. Liebherr-Australia’s Brandon Robinson-Smith is one of the branch’s major advocates for safety in the driver fatigue space. In 2018, Robinson-Smith, then a site-based technician, fell asleep at the wheel of his ute, causing him

to lose control and crash. He survived the accident but lost his right arm and suffered a broken pelvis – two injuries that would transform his life. After recovering from the accident, Liebherr-Australia offered RobinsonSmith an opportunity to continue working with the company in customer service at the Mt Thorley branch. “It has been a challenge returning to work in an office capacity, coming from a highly physical job to a role where you aren’t as active,” Robinson-Smith says. “My colleagues have all supported my transition into an office role - the way they treat me hasn’t changed at all.” To build awareness of the risks that driver fatigue presents, RobinsonSmith delivers presentations across the company to combat the issue. In the presentations, he highlights factors that contribute to driver fatigue, including sleep deprivation and choosing to drive after long shifts rather than sleeping beforehand. The presentations also outline how Robinson-Smith’s life changed after his accident, as he had to relearn how to do basic skills such as cooking with one arm. “The idea to run the presentation was a joint idea between Liebherr and myself,” Robinson-Smith says. “The idea came about because we had seen a steady rise in fatigue breaches because none of us take much notice of being tired. “In response to this, we wanted to shine a light on how tough it was for

Robinson-Smith fell asleep while driving, causing his ute to lose control.

Lyndia Wombold (left) and Brandon Robinson-Smith.

me to recover and look at the issues that I have encountered that a lot of people wouldn’t think of.” Liebherr-Australia’s decision to redeploy Robinson-Smith into a new role after his injuries reflect the company’s family-owned and operated values. Johnstone says Liebherr-Australia looks after its people and can be considered an employer of choice. “It’s something that we’d do for any of our employees. I think in Brandon’s case, he was so willing and enthusiastic to get back to work and back on the job and we embraced that,” Johnstone says. Wombold says Robinson-Smith’s safety advocacy across the company has also expanded Liebherr-Australia’s safety capabilities.


“Brandon’s speedy recovery and positive attitude towards his new way of life was amazing to see,” she says. “Once Brandon returned to work, he spoke about wanting to share his story to educate others on fatigue and what can happen. “This was very brave of Brandon, and I am grateful he has shared his story to us all.” Liebherr-Australia has introduced several initiatives to prevent driver fatigue, including its fatigue management policy and assessment tools, in addition to training, crisis counselling and regular toolbox talks on fatigue and employee health and fitness. “What we work on particularly is safety observation tools where we ask our leaders, workshop managers,

Fatigue management

Liebherr-Australia’s workforce uses fatigue assessment tools to ensure safer practice.

supervisors right up to the managing director level to be on the workshop floor talking with people about how to make their jobs safer,” Johnstone says. The fatigue assessment tools are available on the phones of LiebherrAustralia’s workers, allowing them to complete assessments that automatically notifies supervisors to prompt action. As a result, Liebherr-Australia’s workforce has become more capable of making the right judgement when managing their fatigue. Liebherr-Australia national HSE (health, safety and environment) manager Matt Hallinan says the company’s workers have increased their awareness of how important it is to monitor fatigue and they now feel more empowered to make decisions. “Fatigue awareness and management processes were in place

within the company prior to Brandon’s accident; however, the accident brought the workforce closer together in elevating the importance of fatigue management,” Hallinan says. Robinson-Smith’s presentations hit home for many members of the audience and help them understand the issues surrounding driver fatigue. When Robinson-Smith first presented to the Mount Thorley management group, he says a few of the team realised that even they had encountered the warning signs of fatigue. “Since then, I have presented it to the service technicians and to Mangoola Coal. I have been pulled aside on a couple of occasions so people could tell me how my presentation had brought to light issues that they hadn’t even thought about and has changed their thoughts on


fatigue,” Robinson-Smith says. Mangoola Coal health and safety manager Robin Hendry shares, “Brandon’s personal story on his fatigue-related MVA captures the hearts of the audience. It’s an emotional journey that will definitely make you think twice about the long-term impacts of ignoring the signs of fatigue.” As the industry evolves, so does Liebherr’s safety practices through its fatigue management policy and assessment tools. Johnstone says Robinson-Smith’s presentations reinforce the company’s existing focus on fatigue awareness. “We have a strong fatigue policy because we understand that fatigue is a potential killer in the workplace. It’s not easy because fatigue management really is up to the individual,” Johnstone says. “Recognising and being aware of the signs of fatigue are vitally important. Brandon’s presentations are invaluable to hear firsthand from a person who has suffered the consequences of fatigue. We have around 200 field service vehicles in the field, so there are many of our people on the road at any time.” Robinson-Smith’s efforts to advance the company’s safety awareness have been inspiring and also accompanied by the company’s move to add vehicle monitoring systems to its fleet. Wombold says his determined recovery and positive attitude towards his new way of life is inspiring to be around. “Customers are now looking at different ways to address fatigue and driving incidents in the workplace,” Wombold says. “Our people are behind a wheel every day, before, during and after work at times. Real-life stories and learning shares positive reinforcement and drive awareness.”


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Health & wellbeing



he importance of positive mental health, in all factors of life, is an issue that has risen in prominence over the past decade. However, the global COVID-19 pandemic has shone the spotlight on mental health in a way that has never been seen before. Snap lockdowns and border closures – international, interstate and at times inter-regional – have created a level of uncertainty for people throughout Australia. Those working in the mining and resources sector, particularly fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers who have often worked long shifts and spent weeks away from their families and friends, now no longer have the guarantee of their regular roster. In June, Newmont suspended mining operations at the Tanami gold mine in the Northern Territory due to a COVID-19 outbreak. The Northern Territory Government moved all mine workers who travelled

to Alice Springs and Darwin from June 18 into isolation. Last month, Fortescue was forced to stop operations at its Cloudbreak site following a weak positive COVID-19 test, which turned out to be a false alarm and rapid testing around the site found no other positive cases. This disruption of routine and level of uncertainty, in an industry which already has a high level of stigma associated with mental health issues, can have a serious impact on a worker’s wellbeing. In the past year, industry leaders have taken giant steps in addressing mental health concerns in the mining sector. Newcrest Mining introduced a program called Thinking Well in October last year to address mental health and the challenges COVID-19 has had on its employees. Mental health is part of the company’s three pillars of health, hygiene and wellness framework. In June, the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) launched the free MineWell mobile app to support


the mental health and resilience of its members. However, according to a recent Mining People International survey, almost one third of mining employees experiencing mental health problems believe they are not feeling supported by the company they work for. Of the 85 per cent of respondents who said they had experienced mental health problems while working in mining, 68 per cent said they felt their company had offered genuine help. That means just under one third, or 32 per cent, of employees experiencing mental health problems aren’t getting the support they need. In an effort to further highlight the importance of mental health within the resources sector, the Australian Resources and Energy Group (AMMA) will assist employers with mental health challenges under a new framework. The Resources and Energy Industry Workforce Mental Health Framework is the latest initiative from AMMA aimed at assisting employers in their shared

commitment to building and maintaining mentally healthy workplaces. The framework was developed through consultation with leading mental health authorities and professionals within the resources and energy industry, including the guidance of AMMA’s Resources and Energy Mental Health Advisory Board. AMMA chief executive Steve Knott says the organisation is undertaking research to identify the biggest factors affecting employees’ mental health, particularly during the COVID-19 global health pandemic. “The research will inform the development of industry tailored interventions which maximise organisational productivity, improve the wellbeing of leaders and employees, and assist in the recovery from the impacts of COVID-19,” Knott says.

“The findings from this research are expected later this year and will provide a baseline of evidence to assist employers to target interventions to tackle the challenges faced by the industry. “No doubt it will show the industry’s unique FIFO working patterns and all that comes with it – longer days, feelings of isolation at times and so on – to be mental health challenges that must be managed. “The impacts of COVID-19 on mental health, and how we can combat those, will also be very valuable insights.” MCA chief executive officer Tania Constable says workplace mental health programs are a sound investment in workforce wellbeing that deliver significant return. “Mental health programs can also improve organisational adaptability,

AMMA chief executive Steve Knott.

general health and safety, and reduce staff turnover,” Constable says. “MCA encourages top-to-bottom leadership to create and maintain a mentally healthy workplace. “Management should promote

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Health & wellbeing the importance of mental health and wellbeing to all workers in the minerals industry.” Knott says the stigma of acknowledging, speaking out and seeking professional help has always been one of the biggest challenges when it comes to an individual’s mental health. “This is the case for the broader community but is even more so in maledominated cultures like the resources sector where men often feel they are expected to just ‘get on with it’,” he says. “Mental health experts agree that when organisations and their leaders are more visible and vocal about mental health, the stigma behind reaching out for support is greatly reduced. “Therefore, as an industry we must band together and be proactive with mental health, continuing to break down stigmas by having regular conversations and sharpening our tools to identify and assist anyone who may be struggling.” The framework builds on AMMA’s launch of an industry-first online training program for psychological health and safety across resources and energy workplaces last year. Knott says the high level of uptake to this program reflects the industry’s strong shared commitment

“The research will inform the development of industry tailored interventions which maximise organisational productivity, improve the wellbeing of leaders and employees and assist in the recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.” to building and maintaining mentally healthy workplaces. “While the workplace disruption from COVID-19 has been an added challenge, it has certainly galvanised the commitment of resources and energy employers to mental health and psychological safety across their workplaces,” he says. Since launching the industry-first online training program last year, AMMA has assisted employers of all

The stigma around speaking out about mental health has been a barrier.


sizes to improve psychological health and safety across resources and energy workplaces. Knott says the initial response from resources and energy employers has been overwhelmingly positive, with feedback indicating the framework will greatly assist employers at various stages of their workplace mental health journey. “The next step that AMMA is already progressing is providing a range of additional tools alongside the framework to provide additional practical guidance for employers in applying actions and assessment elements of the framework,” Knott says. “With the supporting tools, employers can apply various activities under each element depending on where they see best to focus their efforts.” The three elements identified for taking action – Promote, Protect and Support – allow employers to seek opportunities for improvement, take action to prevent harm, and provide support to improve organisational culture and reduce stigma around mental health. These organisational elements are closely aligned with key parts of the

World Health Organisation’s Healthy Workplace Framework. Knott says the ‘promote’ aspect describes how an organisation can seek opportunities to enhance wellbeing and generate internal capabilities. “This will include devising and implementing policy instruments that have the sole purpose of promoting health outcomes of employees,” he says. “Employers can ‘protect’ by preventing harm through risk management and resilience building initiatives. This category is where much of the practical work of the employer is put into action.” The ‘support’ element outlines the need to improve culture to reduce stigma by raising awareness and accommodating illness. It also includes actions like improving employees’ access to external service providers and supporting the families of FIFO workers and similar actions. “As the WHO points out, these actions are not linear and should be overlapping and at-times simultaneous. In AMMA’s framework they are supported by the ‘Maturity Scale’ which illustrates what employer actions look like at five different stages of mental health maturity – from ‘Compliant’ through to ‘Progressive’,” Knott says “This scale allows employers to benchmark themselves in terms of current activities and capacities. In doing so, it is important to note that the maturity of an organisation is not static, but fluid. “The most important thing is not to benchmark for the sake of it – but for employers and the industry to always be ready and willing to have ongoing, collaborative and constructive dialogue on mental health outcomes for all people.”


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Industry leaders have taken giant steps to address mental health concerns in mining.

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Dust suppression

Keeping fugitive material in place MARTIN ENGINEERING PRODUCT ENGINEER DANIEL MARSHALL DISCUSSES HOW WELL-DESIGNED CONVEYOR LOADING ZONES KEEP WALKWAYS CLEAR FROM SPILLAGE, MINIMISE DUST EMISSIONS AND ALLOW HAZARD-FREE INSPECTIONS AND MAINTENANCE. THE COST OF SPILLAGE If left uncontained and allowed to spread, fugitive material in the form of dust and fine particle spillage will increase labour costs for cleanup, foul equipment, potentially encapsulate the belt and pose a serious safety hazard. A dirty and dusty environment can also discourage workers from doing regular maintenance on the problem area and may affect morale. Since trips and falls are regularly among the most common workplace accidents, safety and health inspectors are constantly on the lookout for those hazards. Spillage surrounding the loading zone is an easy violation to spot, in severe cases blocking access to the system and exacerbating the hazards of working near a moving belt. Dust levels are also strictly regulated, and permit violations can be accompanied by fines and

Dust accumulation on rolling components can cause abrasive damage and premature failure.


perators need only take a broad look at the expense fugitive material contributes to a system to realise the full cost that accompanies inefficient transfer point designs. Problems such as improper belt support, badly sealed chutes, damaged idlers and uneven cargo distribution can all result in spillage and belt mistracking, contributing to increased costs for maintenance and cleanup, the potential for injury and compliance issues.

When tonnes of bulk material hit a moving belt, three things happen: fines scatter in random directions, cargo shifts and dust becomes airborne. The impact can create turbulent air pressure inside the chute that seeks to escape from any gap it can find, carrying dust and fines with it. A properly designed enclosure can manage bulk solids, allow cargo to settle in the centre of the belt and contain most of the dust inside a settling zone enclosure.


External wear liner and dual selfadjusting seal with belt support.

potential downtime. In many industries known for dust generation, workers wear personal dust monitors to measure particulate levels throughout their shifts. Working within proximity of poorly designed loading zones can cause monitored levels of PM10 (particulate material <10 microns in size) to exceed allowable limits. SEALED CHUTE COMPOSITION A well-designed loading zone typically consists of a combination of components. These include: 1. An enclosed transfer chute should be long enough to give dust and fines time to settle. 2. A heavy-duty belt support system absorbs impact, protects the belt and can handle rapidly shifting heavy material.


3. Closely spaced idlers help avoid sags in the belt that allow gaps where fines can escape and ease material disruption from bouncing. E 4. xternally adjustable or self-adjusting skirting contains fine particles and adapts to fluctuations in the belt plane. 5. Easily serviced wear liners can be changed from outside the chute without the use of a blowtorch. 6. Dust curtains set strategically throughout the enclosure control airflow and help settle dust. 7. Dust bags or mounted air cleaners collect tiny, highly active dust particles. 8. A sealed tail box protects the tail pulley from the backflow of fines, dust and spillage. 9. Exit curtains prevent fugitive dust from escaping from the end of the chute. Dust and spillage are top concerns for many safety professionals. Field tests

Modern loading zone design has elements that focus on safety.

have shown that enlarged skirtboards and engineered settling zones promote dust settling and reduce fugitive material. CASE STUDY A mine in north central Mexico was experiencing excessive spillage and dust emissions at the loading zone of its tower-mounted conveyor transporting raw gold, silver, zinc oxide, copper, lead,

Dust suppression

Raw bulk material drops onto a moving conveyor belt, creating dust and spillage.

molybdenum and sulphides. Despite installing various transfer and loading chute components from an outside supplier, workers found that dust filled the tower and chunks of raw material 51-76 millimetres in diameter spilled from the transfer chute onto the stairs, partially blocking access to the area and creating a potential workplace hazard. Twice per month operations had to be disrupted for 12-24 hours so that a four-to-five-person team could clean spillage and return it to the cargo flow. Clean-up and downtime raised the cost of operation and lowered efficiency. Technicians from Martin Engineering Mexico were invited in and, after a thorough inspection, designed a plan based on the principles of Production Done Safely. It addressed all aspects of the bulk handling process for properly guiding the cargo through the transfer chute. Martin Impact Cradles were installed to centre the material and promote belt health, while Slider Cradles improved performance as well as safety by sliding out for external maintenance. The project also included skirting and dust bags to contain emissions and spillage throughout the settling zone.

The reconfigured conveyor controls emissions for improved safety and easier maintenance.

Strategically placed belt trackers aligned the belt along the entire path. Heavy-duty primary and secondary cleaners that slide in and out for service were installed at the discharge zone to reduce carryback and promote safer blade replacement. The entire system was designed with innovative safety features and ease of maintenance in mind. Each of the components works together to deliver a comprehensive bulk-handling solution that promotes efficiency and a safer workplace. Following installation, fugitive material was significantly reduced and spillage no longer blocked access to the area. The air around the transfer point and throughout the tower was much clearer.

Settling zone retrofitted onto an existing conveyor being installed during scheduled downtime.


“We no longer need scheduled shutdowns just for cleaning,” an operations manager explains. “We’re very happy with the work done.” The customer cites the expert service from the Martin Engineering team, a thorough understanding of the mine’s needs and the quality of the equipment. CONCLUSION With some fairly simple calculations, cost-minded managers can see the negative impact of labour costs for clean-up and maintenance on the bottom line. Combined with the expense of fouled equipment replacement, potential OSHA violations and unscheduled downtime, the expense of a chute redesign can become an essential capital expense. Using the technologies described here, even poorly performing conveyors need not be replaced, but merely modified and reconfigured by knowledgeable and experienced technicians installing modern equipment. These improvements help operations improve efficiency, reduce risk and contribute to regulatory compliance.

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Dust suppression A dusty cabin can cause major problems for the machine operator.



here is a belief that enclosed cabins of fixed and mobile plants provide protection against workers’ exposure to harmful airborne particulate and fibre. However, studies have shown that allowable personal exposure limits (PEL) inside a cabin can be far greater than the external operating environment. Statistics and reports have revealed that respirable disease and other debilitating health effects are on the rise due to workplace exposure to airborne particulate and fibre. LSM Technology details this in a recent technical white paper, Breathing Easy – Airborne Particulate/Fibre Exposure of Enclosed Cabins of Mobile and Fixed Plant. It is not only related to workers in open environments but also operators in enclosed cabins of fixed and mobile plant. LSM Technology’s QCABAIR (patent pending) Core Mixing Plenum integrates the Cabin External Air Pressuriser and Recirculation Filtration Units to create a compact system that ensures the cabin

environment not only meets but exceeds Australian and international standards. LSM Technology managing director Peter Woodford says a clean cabin and a more comfortable, healthier and safer working environment means happier operators, enhanced concentration and alertness, as well as greater productivity. “We have come a long way in terms of cabin technology, especially when you consider that none of the earliest machines even had cabins – operators were working out in the open,” Woodford tells Safe to Work. “Some of the earlier machines only included cabins as protection from the weather or as protection for the operator if the machine rolled over. “With the evolution of enclosed cabins the next development was when air conditioning was installed in the cabins, but in many cases the air conditioning was bringing more dust and particles into the cabin than there would have been without it. “That’s why we have worked to make the QCABAIR as safe and comfortable for the operator as possible.”


LSM has long been a leader in providing compliant cabin pressurisation and filtration solutions that are field tested and certified by occupational health and safety (OH&S) regulators, including the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy with a joint field trail/report (RESPA trial 2009) on an excavator operated at a sandstone quarry. The company also works alongside and represents key dust mitigation technology manufacturer, Sy-Klone International. LSM was the first dealer in the world to introduce the Sy-Klone RESPA cabin pressurisation and filtration technology to the mining, quarrying and extraction industries. It has been Sy-Klone’s master dealer for the Australasian region since 2008. The QCABAIR Core Mixing Plenum combines the Sy-Klone RESPA units to mix the filtered external and recirculation air in a single compact mounting system. Woodford says LSM endeavours to take advantage of the most advanced

technologies available to ensure its products are innovative enough to exceed the latest Australian and international health and safety standards. However, he adds that LSM also takes a “back to basics” approach during the design phase. “Whilst focussing on occupational health and safety to best protect the occupants of enclosed cabins, there are other cost benefits of a reliable and complaint cabin pressuriser and filtration system that are often easily forgotten,” Woodford says. “What LSM sets out to do is provide clean air to the machine’s cabin through the air-conditioning system without it getting choked so it doesn’t require high maintenance; filter elements last longer and by reducing failure, it avoids associated production loss.” The QCABAIR system features a range of benefits on top of meeting and exceeding OH&S standards. The product ensures adequate and constant airflow and ventilation (CO2 build-up) particularly for multiple occupants, it sets optimum pressurisation to 50-150 pascal and will not overpressurise the cabin. It also uses extended length filter elements to provide less frequent filter exchange,

The QCABAIR Core Mixing Plenum makes the cabin safe and comfortable.

while maximising filter service life, mixes the external and recirculation air to reduce thermal loading on the HVAC and provides better thermal comfort for the operator. Woodford says the QCABAIR Core Mixing Plenum Connection Module is made from 304 stainless steel and powder coated, reducing heat absorption in high ambient conditions, meaning it will never rust or deteriorate. “As all the working components are contained on the QCABAIR Cabin Pressuriser / Filtration Core Mixing Plenum, then it can be easily adapted and mounted to virtually any machine,” Woodford says.

Dust can find its way into any part of a machine without protection.


“The Core Module is light (under 25 kilograms) and can be transferred easily from one vehicle to the other and carries a three-year warranty. “QCABAIR comes as a completed assembly as a single core module – which saves time for installation – or it can be easily provided as a DYI kit.” Woodford says dust is one of the most common risks faced by mining employees and without the right dust mitigation solution, workers are at risk of chronic lung conditions, severely impacting their quality of life. “Respirable crystalline silica (RCS) is found at varying levels in all dusts, especially within the mining, quarrying, construction, agriculture, cement, crushing and earthmoving industries,” Woodford says. “However, compliance is not just about exposure to RCS but also providing protection against other harmful types of contamination such as diesel exhaust, asbestos, nickel, alumina, coal, iron ore, pesticides and herbicides, as well as others found in many industries. “Since 2008, LSM has been working alongside various companies and organisations to develop standards and provide solutions relating to protecting operators in enclosed cabins from dangerous dust particulate and fibre materials, which also protects their customers equipment.”

Dust suppression



hen it comes to finding the best answers to dust suppression, Erizon’s aim is to get the right fit for mining companies with a focus on safety and economy. The company’s solutions have proven effective on mining and industrial sites, including at coal mines, copper mines, ash dams, tailings dams and power stations. Erizon operations manager Tom Corkhill says the company follows specific guidelines to guarantee on-site safety when applying its dust solutions. “When operating on tailing storage facilities (TSFs), there are limited traditional application methods that can be used to apply solutions

effectively,” Corkhill says. “We have developed a fleet of low ground pressure equipment that allows us to access directly on a tailings dam with a PSI (pounds per square inch) of under one. This allows for a more uniform and accurate application. “Erizon utilises the latest drone technology and invests heavily in research and development in other equipment to make sure we can access the site safely. We are looking at new and exciting technology all the time to see how we can improve the application of our solutions safely. “We have investigated using drones to apply our solutions – we are always pushing the boundaries to find a safer application method and pass on the benefits to our customers.”

FibreLoc is applied using a cannon or hose.


HydroBond is designed to penetrate and bind all soil and sand types.

Erizon provides four core solutions when it comes to dust suppression. SuppressX uses a unique emulsion of microscopic cross-linked superabsorbent polymers. Perfect for ‘non-trafficked’ areas, the ultralow concentration of SuppressX makes it the ideal performance product for mining, civil and infrastructure industries. HydroBond is a specialist blend of polymers and proprietary additives. It readily mixes with water and acts as a binder for all applications. HydroBond can be applied as an effective and economical dust suppressant for vegetated areas and is designed to penetrate and bind all soil and sand types. Erizon has specifically designed the RoadBond solution for the harsh conditions of the mining, resources and infrastructure industries. RoadBond cuts overall maintenance costs, reduces dust immediately, increases road stability, is environmentally compliant

Erizon has a fleet of low ground pressure equipment.

and limits tyre wear. FibreLoc is a superior dust suppression product. It is scientifically engineered for the harshest of conditions where polymer solutions aren’t suitable and sustainable longevity is required. Once in contact with the substrate, the composition of the solution provides a functional longevity of

up to 24 months, dependent on environmental conditions. Corkhill says Erizon takes a rigorous approach when inspecting a site prior to applying its suppression techniques. The aim is to listen to the client and tailor a solution that meets the project requirements “Our main goal is to provide our client with the best result. To do this,

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we need to understand the substrate we are working with. We follow a strict scientific analysis to determine a solution that will guarantee results,” Corkhill says. “There is no ‘one rule fits all’ when it comes to providing a solution – every site we visit has distinctive factors. We specialise in being able to be flexible depending on a variety of factors.”

Dust suppression

Burnley Baffles is a system that restricts air flow.



ideco’s dust collection solutions are industry leading and highly effective. The company prides itself on the partnerships it forms solving dust problems for clients from all over the world. The company’s Burnley Baffles solution is a well-established dust suppression system with hundreds of installations in Australia and around the world. Burnley Baffles are installed at facilities in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, China, United Kingdom and Ireland. According to Mideco director Melton White, there is both a question and a rule that are rarely understood and virtually never applied to dust management with regards to bulk

materials-receiving hoppers. The question is, when is a hopper full? The fact is that air extraction cannot ever be directed. White says the answer to the question of, ‘when is a hopper full?’ is simple but is often complicated with a tootechnical solution. “Ask any engineer when a hopper is full and you will get an answer associated with how many cubic metres of product it can hold, or what weight of product it can hold, or when it is ‘full to the top’,” White says. “To answer the question correctly you have to be able to see what can’t be seen. “The answer to the question is – a hopper is always full. Sometimes it is full of product, other times it is full of air and then other times it’s a combination of


both. But regardless, it is always full.” White says that air extraction can never be properly directed and uses the example of a pedestal fan to make his point. “Almost all of us have a pedestal fan at home, we tend to put it in the corner of the room and when the air comes in contact with us, it cools us. But where does that air come from?” White asks. “If we put our hand in front of the fan, the airstream is easy to feel; it’s a column of air blowing out. But if we put our hand behind it, nothing can be felt, or at best we can feel the hairs on the back of our hand moving a little. “The same can be said for a straw. If we blow down it and hold our finger an inch from the end, we can easily feel the airstream hit our finger. If we suck up through it holding our finger in the same

location, we cannot feel the air at all. “This is because suction or extraction is rarely understood, when anything sucks it causes a pocket of low pressure; from there, atmosphere pushes in from all directions to fill it. All directions mean just that – every direction equally.” To illustrate the point more clearly, White references a straw and encourages people to think in only two dimensions instead of three. “If we think there are 360 degrees around the open end of the straw, our finger is in line with about 30 degrees, thus 330 degrees are free to flow, this includes perfectly parallel to the outside of the straw and around and into the end. We cannot feel the flow. Then remember the third dimension, there are 129,600 angles available, of which say 900 angles are in line with our finger,” White says “Thus, you cannot feel the airflow at all. Then remember, in the real world there are three dimensions. The same applies for the pedestal fan and right the way up infinitely. “A jet engine does not suck its way forward – it is propelled by thrust, by the air out the positive-pressure end.” White says to apply this example when putting product into a hopper. Because the product is heavier than the air that is already in the hopper, he explains that the air is pushed out as a result. “In this case that means up and out into the environment,” White says. “The problem is, it flows against the product flow and liberates the lighter particles within the product. That is the dust.” White says the solution is a combination of understanding the answer to the question – when is a hopper full? – and controlling the suction flow. Mideco’s Burnley Baffles is a system that restricts air flow out of or into the hopper, but still allows product to flow into it. The system consists of a set of modules that fill the open inlet face of a

Burnley Baffles are installed at facilities all over the world.

“Therefore, if the air is not flowing up and through the product flow to get out, there is no dust.” hopper. Each module contains a set of blades that pivots to allow the material flow into the hopper. The baffles strip the air moving through the hopper off the pieces of grain or ore because the air pressure on all sides of baffles is all but constant. As the air is not heavy enough to open the blades, only the product enters the hopper while the dust is kept below the blades. “So, working in reverse and applying suction to the hopper, by applying a dust collector to it, with a restriction in regard to where the air comes from means the hopper is always at a slightly lower


pressure than atmosphere,” White says. “Air is always flowing down from the working environment into it. Then when the product is dropped into it and starts to push the air out, it does not come out. Instead, it flows towards the negative pressure which is the bag house. “Therefore, if the air is not flowing up and through the product flow to get out, there is no dust.” The Burnley Baffles, by themselves, can eliminate up to 80 per cent of the dust escaping the hopper enclosure. Combined with a dust collector, the percentage eliminated can be up to 100 per cent.

Dust suppression



xposure to dust is one of the most common risks faced by mining employees and without the right dust mitigation solution, workers are at risk of chronic lung conditions that can severely impact quality of life. Dust particles found in mining environments, such as coal dust, silica dust, asbestos fibres and other harmful respirable particulate can enter unprotected mobile heavy equipment and fixed plant cabins, and may be inhaled by workers. Respirable dust and debris can cause long-term health conditions such as coal mine dust lung disease, silicosis, mixed dust pneumoconiosis, dust-related diffuse fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In June, Cancer Council Australia launched a campaign to highlight the dangers of exposure to silica dust to raise awareness for those working in highrisk industries. Long-term exposure to silica dust has the potential to cause fatal lung diseases. Occupations with the greatest risk of exposure include miners, construction workers, farmers and engineers. Cancer Council Australia chief executive officer Tanya Buchanan says 600,000 Australians are exposed to silica dust in the workplace.

The RESPA Advisor+ is the only ISO 23875-compliant in-cabin pressure and CO2 monitor on the market.

“Silica dust can be 100 times smaller than a grain of sand, meaning workers can breathe it in without even knowing,” she says. “Over time this causes serious lung damage and can lead to lung cancer, silicosis, chronic pulmonary disease and kidney disease. “We want to make sure any Australians working in environments in which they may be exposed to silica dust are aware of both the health risks and the work health and safety processes they need to follow to protect themselves.” A new industry standard – ISO 23875 cabin air quality standard – provides practical steps for mine sites to improve engineering controls and operational integration of machine cabins, in support


of reducing occupational exposure and improving worker health. ISO 23875 seeks to “address the fundamental design requirements that will allow for operator enclosures to perform at a level that provides sustained air quality, reducing concentrations of respirable particulate matter and carbon dioxide that are harmful to human health.” ISO 23875 differs from other regulations as it is a lifecycle standard. It addresses cabin air control systems from the time of design, to when the equipment arrives on site and throughout its operating life. ISO 23875 outlines specific engineering requirements and performance testing to ensure compliance. ISO 23875 performance

requirements include: 1. defined levels of CO2 within the cabin; 2. defined recirculation system efficiency; 3. increased filter efficiency requirements; 4. defined pressurisation levels; and 5. defined real-time monitoring requirements. International Society of Environmental Enclosure Engineers board president and project lead for ISO 23875, Jeff Moredock, says global support for ISO 23875 has continued to increase since its publication in February 2021. “Support in Europe has come as the CEN Technical Committee 196, which represents mining in the European Union, adopted the standard under the Vienna Agreement without change in June. It is now known as EN/ISO 23875,” he says. “Further adoption has taken place in Colombia, South America, which has also adopted the standard as a national standard.” Moredock went on to share that educational webinars in South Africa, South America, Canada, and Finland have been well attended by members of the industry’s health and safety community. In addition to webinars, a new online training course has been created to fast track understanding and implementation of the standard. “The International Society of Environmental Enclosure Engineers developed an online course with interactive modules on how to conduct performance testing and document compliance, including templates for the required operator’s manual, which can be found online at,” Moredock says. Sy-Klone International, a global provider of clean air solutions for industrial work sites, has observed an increase in requests for their products as mining companies and OEMs are seeking solutions to achieve ISO 23875-compliant cabins. Sy-Klone vice president of sales and marketing Austin Browne says the

The RESPA CF2 is an integrated fresh air system that precleans, pressurises, and filters air coming into the cabin.

company and its distribution partners are working closely with mine site operators to deliver ISO 23875 solutions, bringing both new and existing fleets of heavy mobile equipment into compliance, and protecting machine operators by reducing exposure to harmful respirable dust and debris. “Sy-Klone works directly with nine out of the top 10 largest international mining and construction equipment original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Our products have been thoroughly vetted by our OEM partners and thirdparty labs, ensuring the highest levels of performance and adherence to international standards,” Browne says. “Sy-Klone’s patented products are differentiated from other solutions by the way we handle air, precleaning the largest debris before ever reaching the filter, resulting in extended filter life and increased operator air quality protection and machine uptime.

“Sy-Klone’s RESPA clean air solutions pressurise, preclean and filter air entering the cabin. Our fresh air and recirculated cabin air quality systems, high-efficiency filters, and real-time CO2 and pressure monitor equips companies with the tools needed to reduce exposure, improve operator air quality, and ultimately benefit the health of operators.” In addition to supporting ocupational health and safety (OH&S) programs, SyKlone’s RESPA clean air solutions result in increased uptime for machines. Ensuring clean air intake allows for less frequent maintenance issues, such as prematurely replacing evaporator cores, as well as improved operational productivity measures, as machines stay in service longer and meet defined service intervals. Offering the only integrated cabin air quality and monitoring products that meet both the air quality and monitoring engineering requirements outlined in ISO 23875, Sy-Klone is uniquely positioned to support mining companies in their pursuit of ISO 23875 adoption. Sy-Klone’s range of ISO 23875-compliant products benefit mine operators by providing short-term safety controls, as well as supporting longterm health outcomes through reducing exposure to harmful dust and particulate. Improving air quality in heavy mobile equipment and fixed plant cabins reduces occupational exposure and can save lives. Sy-Klone’s cabin air quality and monitoring products meet ISO 23875 requirements.





he Australian mining industry has one of the highest fatality and injury rates of any industry. A combined total of 2808 working days per year are lost due to injuries alone. This makes it easy to see why mining companies have a lot to gain from this advanced technology and why rates of adoption continue to grow. There’s an urgency to ensure mine site safety and maintain regulatory compliance, which has resulted in a need for mining companies to become more proactive in managing daily operations to mitigate risk. WHY AI IS THE FUTURE OF FLEET MANAGEMENT The use of artificial intelligence (AI) can allow for a deeper analysis of fleet operations as well as more accurate and specific predictions than have been seen before. Thanks to AI, mining fleets can improve the accuracy of telematicsderived data related to driver behaviour, asset tracking, fleet utilisation and overall fleet operations which, in turn, can improve site safety, driver safety, productivity and cost-efficiency. AUTOMATED DECISION MAKING AI-driven automated decision-making is also becoming more common when it comes to fleet-maintenance issues. Many fleets today practice preventive

AI enables deeper analysis of fleet operations as well as more accurate and specific predictions in mining operations.

maintenance – for instance, sending a notification or alert every 10,000 kilometres to change the vehicle oil to prevent future engine problems. By analysing engine data, fleet information can get more precise and predictive than ever before. Not every vehicle needs its oil changed at 10,000 kilometres – where, how and how frequently depends on factors like the way a vehicle is driven and the condition of the oil. Telematics data pulled from the engine and analysed can give a more precise picture and enable fleets to predict exactly when maintenance is needed to suit a particular circumstance. Users can see how such a process would lead to better efficiency, greater vehicle uptime and increased productivity. Preventive fleet maintenance is where AI really shines.


MAKING FLEETS SAFER Another feature of AI that could help in making mine fleets safer is facial recognition. In-cab cameras are a big growth area in telematics. According to Berg Insight, the market for video telematics will grow by 22.2 per cent between 2020 and 2025, to 3.2 million subscribers. Video telematics can reduce collisions by 60 per cent and the related costs by 75 per cent. Visual evidence collected by in-cab cameras is a powerful tool for insurance claims and driver safety training. What’s more, video telematics is increasingly being used in combination with AI technology to help provide visual context. This helps to determine the circumstances around specific events such as on-site crashes.

AI-powered video eliminates the time-consuming task of sifting through hours of footage to find the precise event a fleet manager needs to review and makes any video snippet available in near real-time. The technology has garnered a significant reputation for its ability to increase safety and efficiency within fleets of all sorts, making AI ideal for the mining industry. In-cab cameras can also provide important proactive safety benefits – models that can detect a driver falling asleep while driving or an imminent crash that then triggers audible in-cab warnings to help prevent a crash from occurring. Machine vision technology, powered by AI, can also be used to streamline driver ID and security processes. For instance, facial recognition can be used to unlock or start vehicles (to prevent, for example, unauthorised usage), or enable auto-login to the telematics system. CHALLENGES THAT AI-POWERED VIDEO CAN HELP MINING OPERATORS TO SOLVE The benefits of using AI-powered technology include (but are not limited to): • R eduction in speeding through increased awareness of road safety behaviours. • I dentifying at-risk drivers and taking relevant actions to assist them. • L ocating drivers at all times. • P roviding direct real-time feedback for operators and their control centres on road conditions. • R educing fuel usage, thus lessening environmental impact. Using AI alongside video telematics can help manage driver distraction, fatigue and other potential safety threats in real-time to prevent potential crashes and the resultant injuries. Safety incidents can be significantly reduced through the identification and monitoring of high-risk drivers, locations, times and shifts. In turn, action plans can be implemented to train drivers on how to avoid safety hazards, allowing for improvement to take place on a continuous basis for long-term results. The more data users have, the smarter they can be about making decisions that improve performance, efficiency and most of all safety. Generating actionable insights will be the key to success in this brave new world of AI-enabled fleet management.

EZI-ON, EZI-OFF EZI-GUARD Moving parts and pinch points pose a serious danger to people who work around machinery. While most machinery guards eliminate incidents around moving parts, it is often heavy and cumbersome enough to become a manual handling hazard.

The patented ESS EZI-GUARD system comprises of a range of versatile, easy to install brackets, lightweight panels and standard structural tubing which forms an ‘off the shelf’ system that can be adapted to almost any application. The EZI-GUARD System has been developed to exceed the guard design requirements of AS4024.3610:2015. The patented ESS EZI-GUARD is;

Quick and easy to retrofit

Easy to remove for maintenance

Modular ‘off the shelf’ design

Corrosion Resistant

Strong but lightweight panels

Easily handled

Available in a variety of materials

Available in barricade form

Coloured Safety Yellow or black as standard

Proudly Manufactured in Australia

Workforce management



he COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Australia like most countries, yet the mining industry has managed to stay afloat as an essential service. Despite work continuing, the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak has already shown that it can temporarily suspend operations. In June, a positive case from a fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) mine worker prompted lockdowns across the Northern Territory while putting an entire site into isolation. Snap lockdowns, as seen in Perth where the Western Australian Government temporarily banned FIFO travel with little to no warning, are also creating challenges. These disruptions to mining operations have taken a toll on labour forces also facing skills shortages. The impact of skilled shortages is

compounded by hard border closures that prevent FIFO workers from travelling to site, or force workers to isolate for extended periods. While Australia’s rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations continues, a key part of preventing the virus from spreading to mine sites is wide-scale testing. Despite most mine sites operating in isolated areas, Team Medical Supplies has the tools needed to ensure that fast and reliable COVID-19 testing is completed at FIFO airports. Team Medical Supplies is a familyowned medical wholesaler that was founded in 2011. The company distributes nationwide and has access to more than 100,000 medical products from major brands. In 2014, the company acquired Western Australian wholesaler BP Medical, a move which has been

Rapid antigen tests can give results in 15 minutes.


key to expanding its reach into the mining industry. Team Medical Supplies general manager Tom Vriens says the company has grown significantly. “We partner with more than 600 manufacturers and suppliers with access to more than 100,000 products. We can support the mining industry with a broad range of products suitable for the mining industry,” Vriens tells Safe to Work. “Team Medical Supplies distributes key medical products required by mining operations, including COVID-19 rapid antigen testing kits, drug screening, defibrillators, personal protective equipment (PPE) and infection prevention products.” Vriens says rapid antigen tests have become an essential part of stopping the risks of COVID-19 at mine sites. “We are all now aware how quickly COVID-19 can spread so it’s important for businesses to take the necessary precautions to protect their staff and business,” Vriens says. “Rapid antigen tests can give results in as little as 15 minutes with excellent accuracy.” Rapid antigen testing, which can quickly determine if an individual has contracted COVID-19, has not been widely adopted by governments. Like the widely used polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, a swab is taken from the nose and throat of a person to detect if they have COVID-19. The tests show if an individual is

positive or negative to COVID-19 by reaction to proteins (antigens) on the surface of the virus. The swab is then put in a chemical solution, which is placed on a reactive strip of paper to determine the result. “COVID rapid antigen tests are becoming more widely recognised as a reliable, simple and affordable screening tool to minimise the risks of outbreaks like this in the workplace,” Vriens says. “FIFO workers in the mining industry can unknowingly have COVID-19 without any symptoms, so these screening kits are an ideal method to mitigate the risks, which can have devastating results.” Team Medical Supplies distributes testing kits from leading global diagnostic solution manufacturers. To ensure tests are reliable, Vriens says it is vital to choose a reputable manufacturer. “There are various tests available on the market which have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA). It’s important to choose a reliable partner with sufficient evidence to support their products’ claims,” Vriens says. “We partner with a global leading manufacturer for diagnostic solutions. This ensures that our clients are adequately trained to understand the different methods of testing for COVID-19 and we have the documentation to support our product.” Mining operations across the country are adopting wide-scale testing of their workforces to ensure an outbreak doesn’t occur. The risk of a positive COVID-19 case is not only detrimental to business and mine workers, but also to the communities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples surrounding their operations. According to the Australian Government’s Department of Health, remote communities which often surround mine sites are more

Team Medical Supplies provides COVID-19 medical equipment to remote areas.

“FIFO workers in the mining industry can unknowingly have COVID-19 without any symptoms, so these screening kits are an ideal method to mitigate the risks, which can have devastating results.” at risk of COVID-19. This is due to higher rates of other health issues, limited access to health care, frequent travelling and a reliance on outreach services, which makes it more vital to contain any potential outbreaks at mines. The location of mining operations in these remote areas can also cause logistical challenges to transport certain products and services to site. Vriens says Team Medical Supplies is prepared to service these remote areas to help overcome these challenges. “Logistics is a core part of our business, and our level of service is what


we pride ourselves on,” Vriens says. “On a daily basis we send hundreds and sometimes thousands of orders to all parts of Australia from our four distribution centres in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia.” As COVID-19 continues to make its mark on Australia, the fight to stop the spread of the virus starts with a safe and secure supply of medical equipment. By supporting the industry, Team Medical Supplies is prepared to supply companies with the products they need, including rapid antigen tests, to avoid an outbreak.

Workforce management



he global COVID-19 pandemic is forcing industries across the world to rethink the way they operate to increase the safety of workforces while minimising any reduction in productivity. With its recent focus on automation and the safety benefits of a remote workforce, the resources industry is well placed to adapt to these changes with minimal disruption to the sector’s efficiency. Automation in the mining industry has been going from strength-to-strength. In July, Fortescue Metals Group hit a new record in mining safety standards with its autonomous haul (AHS) fleet reaching the milestone of two billion tonnes of material moved. The record tonnage doubles the amount of ore hauled by Fortescue’s autonomous fleet since September 2019. However, as technology advances and more tasks are completed by autonomous machinery, concerns have been raised over the future of the industry’s traditional labour solutions. The closure of international borders has cut off the supply of skilled migrant workers, while interstate restrictions and lockdowns have limited the movement of the Australian labour force. This environment has forced mining companies to diversify the way they operate at a time when the

COVID-19 has disrupted FIFO mining schedules.

industry is seeing record prices and increased demand for commodities. According to findings from the World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs Report 2020, automation, in tandem with the COVID-19 recession, is creating a ‘double-disruption’ scenario for workers. “In addition to the current disruption from the pandemic-induced lockdowns and economic contraction, technological adoption by companies will transform tasks, jobs and skills by 2025,” the report states. “By 2025, the time spent on current tasks at work by humans and machines will be equal. A significant share of companies also expect to make changes to locations, their value chains, and the size of their workforce


due to factors beyond technology in the next five years.” Accenture head of resources David Burns says COVID-19 is pushing companies to take digital transformation further by devising new ways to gain efficiencies at a time when fewer workers can be on site. “The majority of on-site roles in the mining sector are typically mechanical in nature, relying on maintenance workers, machine operators and engineers handling heavy mining machinery and vehicles,” Burns says. “The WEF 2020 jobs report found that 67 per cent of repetitive and manual tasks, such as information and data processing, and about 60 per cent of tasks involving physical

labour will be automated. “On the other hand, the report said that the top two emerging roles that will be critical for the future of the mining industry are artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) specialists and process-automation specialists.” Burns acknowledges that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, drones were already carrying out pit surveillance and autonomous trucks were hauling ore. However, he says that to advance the industry further, trucks that have full situational awareness and decision-making autonomy will be key to establishing fully autonomous and remote mine sites post-pandemic. “Humans will still be needed to operate the trucks, but can do this from a control centre, rather than on site,” Burns says. “For this to happen, all fixed and mobile equipment will need to be connected and able to exchange signals and talk to each other. “As always, the safety of all persons and equipment remains parallel. Once this can be met, the next challenge rests on the mining industry’s chief human resources officers (CHROs) and digital officers to reimagine their strategy for the post-pandemic era and explore new

ways to re-organise and redesign their workforce, with new digital processes at the heart of that transformation.” Burns says skilled labour in mining, in both traditional and emerging areas, has struggled to keep up with stimulusaccelerated demand for almost all commodities, amid COVID-related travel restrictions. State and international border restrictions have made mining companies more dependent on a smaller pool of local workforces. “Western Australia is feeling the impact of these developments, perhaps more than any other state. The WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy has warned of a looming shortage for key skills such as trades and technicians, flagging demand for an additional 8000 workers in 2021-22,” Burns says. “Industry CHROs have confirmed these concerns, saying that metallurgists, mine geologists, engineers and surveyors are particularly difficult to hire and retain at the present time. “In addition to the shortage of traditional skills, there is also an urgent need for ‘new skills’ in mining such as data science and programming, that needs to be addressed in order for the industry to propel forward.”

WA has urged FIFO workers to relocate to Perth and the state’s regional areas.


Burns says there is an opportunity to address these shortages by attracting a new wave of employees from adjacent industries who are used to working in an agile, fast-moving and tech-focused world. By doing so, the industry can advance the much-needed diversification of the workforce. “Based on our research, industry CHROs also hope that flexible and remote work policies in mining will attract greater diversity, including higher female participation, a group that has historically been underrepresented in the industry,” Burns says. “People with families or other responsibilities, or health-related restrictions and disabilities, will also have a greater incentive to join the newly flexible and inclusive mining industry workforce.” The WEF Jobs 2020 report states that the public sector needs to provide stronger support for reskilling and upskilling for at-risk or displaced workers. It explains that the public sector will need to create incentives for investments in the markets and jobs of tomorrow; provide stronger safety nets for displaced workers amid job transitions; and to decisively tackle longdelayed improvements to education and training systems.

Workforce management “Additionally, it will be important for governments to consider the longerterm labour market implications of maintaining, withdrawing or partly continuing the strong COVID-19 crisis support they are providing to support wages and maintain jobs in most advanced economies,” the report states. In September 2020, the Australian Government introduced the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL), which aims to ensure certain critical occupations are filled to support Australia’s COVID-19 recovery. In June, mining occupations were added to that list to address the skills shortage in the resources sector. Federal Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alex Hawke says the Australian Government engaged with Australian employers, business leaders and industry bodies to determine the changes. “Government has received valuable feedback from Australian business stakeholders on critical skill vacancies,

which has been considered together with data from the National Skills Commission, in order to develop (this) update to the Priority Migration Skilled Migration List,” Hawke says. “The Morrison Government will continue to support Australian businesses, including through skilled migration, as the engine room of our nation’s economy.” Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) chief executive officer Tania Constable welcomes the addition of mining occupations to the PMSOL. “MCA continues to see an effective, flexible and functional skilled migration framework as more important than ever, so that relevant skills are available for and applied to projects and opportunities across industry,” she says. “As Australia adjusts to a postCOVID environment, the role of skilled migration in accessing specialist and technical skills for the mining industry will be crucial.” Australian Resources and Energy Group AMMA chief executive officer

Autonomous equipment has been a gamechanger in current market conditions.


Steve Knott says Australia’s resources and energy industry has been firing on all cylinders throughout the pandemic. “Hundreds of thousands of dedicated Australian employees have kept our industry among the most productive and prosperous in the world,” he says. “However, prolonged closed borders to the small pool of international skilled migrants that supplement our domestic workforces has wreaked havoc on Australia’s resources industry, as it has most others. “AMMA’s members have been reporting worsening skills shortages that have threatened to cripple our national recovery from the pandemic’s crushing economic impacts.” Burns says a more individualistic approach to the workforce post-COVID will be to look at every dimension of every worker – the personal and the professional – to support both the person and the collective business. “Acknowledging and adapting to this reality can help mining companies operate with greater understanding and

empathy, ultimately transforming their workplace – and the workforce – in the process,” Burns says. “This is increasingly important, as reflected in the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2020 jobs report, which showed that leadership and social influence are the top attributes that mining companies’ reskilling or upskilling programs are focussed on. “As managers move from managing manual workers to analysing data and managing remote teams, they will also require superior communication skills, and project and change management experience.” The mining industry is also seeing increased competition from other sectors around Australia, a factor it didn’t contend with during the mining constriction boom of a decade ago. Burns says technical talent with experience in high-capital industrial settings has always been highly valued in the industry and will continue to be. Now, however, environmental, social and governance goals are reshaping the employee profile towards new types of talent, such as climate scientists, and talent that can help build strategies to help mining thrive in a world that is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. “Mining companies should provide both reactive individual training and proactive large-scale training, to create as many productive upskilling opportunities as possible,” Burns says. “This will facilitate the necessary diversification of modern mining roles. For example, a mechanics will need to work with AI/ML technology to predict machinery failure and perform preventative repairs; a mining vehicle operator will need to remotely oversee multiple pieces of autonomous machinery; and mining engineers will need to use technology to plan and design drill sites.

Technologies like virtual reality are being used to train workers.

“At the same time, considerations for safeguarding employees’ mental health in what is a hugely challenging industry, in that respect, has never been more top of mind. “Accordingly, it will be necessary for the modern mining professional to be emotionally intelligent, with the communications skills to safeguard remote working employees.” The WEF Jobs 2020 report shows this to be the case, with key findings highlighting the window of opportunity to reskill and upskill workers has become shorter in the newly constrained labour market. This applies to workers who are likely to stay in their roles as well as those who risk losing their roles due to rising recession-related unemployment and can no longer expect to retrain at work. However, the report also states that a significant number of business leaders understand that reskilling employees, particularly in industry coalitions and in public-private collaborations, is both cost-effective and has significant midto long-term dividends – not only for their enterprise but also for the benefit of society more broadly. “Companies hope to internally


redeploy nearly 50 per cent of workers displaced by technological automation and augmentation, as opposed to making wider use of layoffs and automation-based labour savings as a core workforce strategy,” the report states. Burns says the challenge for industries is to reimagine their strategy for the post-pandemic era and explore new ways to re-organise and redesign their workforce, with employee experience and new digital tools playing a key role in that transformation. “The good news is that mining CHROs have a head start – the pandemic only accelerated a change that was already occurring in mining – such as greater automation and critical evaluation of the skills required on site to encourage remote working,” he says. “The recent WEF Future Jobs study found that around 95 per cent of surveyed mining companies are adopting strategies that create more remote working opportunities. There is also evidence that 85 per cent of mining workers are ready to embrace these changes to their environment. “The companies that succeed will be those that make these changes quickly.”

Materials handling Diacon has developed a new facility in Queensland to meet growing demand for its products.



he COVID-19 pandemic has affected the ability of mining companies to efficiently source products from international manufacturers due to supply chain constraints. This environment has put pressure on the industry’s safety performance as companies wait to receive products vital to their operations. At the same time, Australian-based companies that manufacture and supply these products are thriving. Diacon Australia offers dust suppression systems and plastic conveyor guards that are made locally in Queensland. The company first delivered its innovative plastic conveyor guards to the Australian market in 1988 and has since become a market leader as a supplier of the unique product. Unlike traditional steel guarding solutions, the plastic conveyor guards are a lightweight and easyto-install alternative, which also offer a longer lifespan.

“We look after the industry through the supply of our guarding solutions for conveyors. We also provide spillage control and dust control with our systems as well,” Diacon general manager Matt Kennett tells Safe to Work. All mineral processing operations require some form of conveyor system, and conveyor guarding is essential to ensure there is no spillage on site. Diacon’s conveyor guards are made with a plastic mesh to ensure they are lightweight to prevent injury from any accidental drops that could fall on workers below. The plastic also prevents corrosion issues with a guaranteed 15-year lifespan compared with the average five-year lifespan of steel alternatives. “The biggest safety benefit of the plastic guarding is the manual handling,” Kennett says. “Being a lightweight guard makes it literally a one-person operation; we have also designed it to hang on the railing to avoid an issue with otherwise


storing bulky steel guards. “The lifecycle of the guard is a lot longer than a steel guard, so you avoid the issue of regular changeouts. A lot of manpower is required to change the guarding out, so it prevents any risks involved with frequent maintenance.” In addition to the conveyor guards, Diacon offers the Hungry Board and its plastic safety panel for materials handling operations. Like the conveyor guard, the safety panel is made from lightweight plastic to ensure easy and safe installation. The Hungry Board is an aluminiumreinforced plastic panel that helps keep products within conveyor belts to reduce spillage and prevent dust. This reduces the accumulation of dust across a mine site, which helps prevent any lung-related issues with workers or environmental concerns. “Dust control keeps a safer environment by stopping it from flowing over everything,” Kennett says. “If you can reduce the spillage there’s less of a need for clean-up and it prevents any

long-term issues for mine sites.” Dust control is not only important for mine workers, but it also helps the surrounding environment and allows companies to meet their regulatory requirements to operate. Diacon’s products are offered as bespoke solutions, meaning the company can develop a fit-for-purpose solution depending on the design of a mine site. This includes the company’s custom dust collector hood designs, which have been used in iron ore, bauxite and coal mines “We can work with any type of conveyor at a mine site to come up with a bespoke solution,” Kennett says. “That’s what is different about us compared with other manufacturers – we’ve got the ability to deliver custom solutions that have short lead times.” Diacon plans to continue growing following the launch of a new workshop, with a focus on expansion in New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia. Prior to COVID-19, the company was also building an international presence with exports to England, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea. This remains another ambition of the company once international restrictions ease. For Kennett, the prospect of delivering an Australian-made product during the pandemic has shown the strength of the local business. “I think supporting local industry is a massive thing at the moment. We’re not going anywhere; we’re here to support the mining, sugar and port industries with whatever they need,” Kennett says. “COVID-19 has proven that there’s companies in Australia here for the long haul that are committed to supporting the local mining industry.” Diacon services the market across Australia through its

distributor, Consolidated Engineering Plastics Products. The distributor and Diacon brand were both established, and are still today managed, by Brendan Refalo. “Essentially, Consolidated Engineering is a reselling and customer liaison for Diacon’s products,” Kennett says. “Consolidated Engineering works alongside Diacon by supporting the design and local manufacturing of its products.” To boost industry presence and serviceability, Consolidated Engineering and Diacon have commissioned a large, purpose-built facility in Queensland. As demand grows for Diacon’s products, a larger warehouse was required to ensure it can service a booming resources industry, along with the sugar and port industries. “We built this facility as we outgrew the other four buildings that we were previously in,” Kennett says. “The whole idea behind building a single purpose-built workshop is to get everyone under one roof and to

Diacon’s conveyor guards are made with a plastic mesh which makes them lightweight and easy to handle.


have enough room to continue meeting our customer demand.” Based in Mackay, the workshop is close to the heart of Queensland’s mining industry in the Bowen Basin. This mining region contains the largest coal reserves in Australia, which are in demand from export markets across the globe. Kennett says sourcing local conveyor guards offers shorter lead times in regions such as the Bowen Basin compared with importing an international product. “It just proves that you don’t have to go overseas to get products when its right on your doorstep,” Kennett says. “When buying local the reduction of lead times compared with going to an overseas manufacturer is significant. It’s also easier to assess the products in person before buying, by having a local facility rather than organising a trip overseas. “It just highlights the strength of Australian manufacturing and what we can come up with in our own backyard.”

Fire safety



n Australia, mine sites face strict regulations to ensure operations are undertaken safely. With countless variables requiring consideration at these sites every day, sometimes incidents do occur. The dangers surrounding heavy mining equipment are often associated with collisions and operator error. Yet certain factors, such as flammable liquids meeting hot surfaces on these vehicles, can lead to them catching on fire. Other kinds of mobile and stationary equipment can also catch fire. It can be difficult for the workers on site to determine the true nature of what caused a fire to start, and it often requires bringing in a specialist. Fire Forensics has been solving these cases since 2017, with experience

in the mining industry, private and public sectors. It was founded by Jim Munday, who brought his experience of conducting forensic fire investigations in the United Kingdom’s public sector to the company. “Fire Forensics is a relatively new company. It was founded based on a smaller business – JW Munday and Associates – which was a partnership between myself and my wife started in 1998,” Munday tells Safe to Work. “Using our expertise that had been developed over 20-plus years of working in the public sector, we thought it was a good idea to make that available to private clients. There were always issues with private clients getting hold of good quality fire investigation.” Munday and his wife moved their

Fire Forensics’ investigations help to determine the cause of a fire.


business to New South Wales in 2003. He says they initially provided services to insurance companies and legal representatives in the civil and criminal area, and quickly expanded into mining and heavy machinery fires. “We had a wide base and built the business up from there; at that stage I started to see there was a need for a high-quality fire investigation with a forensic mindset that wasn’t always readily available to clients across Australia,” he says. By 2010, demand for the company had grown significantly and Munday recruited more fire forensic experts, including nowmanaging director Belinda (BJ) Jones. “In 2017, we decided as part of my retirement succession planning to form Fire Forensics as a company,” Munday says. Fire Forensics focusses on fire and explosion investigation in Australia and abroad, with its findings determining how a fire started and how future fires can be prevented by using scientific data. Munday says the company has points of difference from some of the other suppliers in the market that clients seemed to appreciate. “We are very committed to the scientific process and objectively analysing the facts and material before forming an opinion. We’re also committed to explaining our findings very clearly in basic terms without going into technical jargon,” Munday says. Fire Forensics uses its understanding of fire dynamics, and fuel and ventilation factors to trace fires back to where the ignition occurred. “If a fire is not tremendously large, very often some sort of internal investigation

might be done and someone might point to something as the cause,” he says. “They may think they can see what’s going on but often they can’t see the bigger picture.” Munday says many fires on mine sites are caused by fuel leaking onto hot surfaces of diesel engines, which requires knowledge of exhaust and ventilation behaviours. The company investigates many fires due to ignitable liquid fuels which are not where they’re supposed to be. “Both the actual fuel from the engine, but also hydraulic oil under pressure behaves as an ignitable liquid and very often the ignition source for escaping liquid is a hot surface, such as the exhaust or the turbo charger,” he says. “When the liquid droplets spray around and they come into contact with the hot surface, you can get an ignition which may be a long way from the leak.” Fire Forensics also inspects identical undamaged equipment on site during investigations to determine the sequence of events that could have led to a fire. One incident involved a water cart at a coal mine. The damage showed that the fire had started around one cylinder head, but the cause of the ignition was unknown. Upon examining a similar truck,

Fire Forensics was founded by Jim Munday.

Fire Forensics discovered a build-up of oil from a leaking cylinder head, which combined with coal dust caked onto the exhaust. “When I looked at an identical machine, there were leaking oil seals on its engine and build-up of oil alongside the exhaust manifold. Compounding that was the working environment which had a lot of coal dust,” Munday says. “The combination of coal dust and oil built up on the exhaust manifold in exactly the same place where the fire started on the truck that was burnt determined the most plausible cause for this fire.” Fire Forensics offers secondary

Fires on mine sites can be caused by fuel leaking onto hot surfaces.


examinations such as documentary, photographic and video evidence and witness accounts to support its core expertise. Munday says if a case goes to court, the company can be involved in various stages beyond preparing the report, such as conferences with solicitors and barristers before the case is heard. “If required, we then give evidence as witnesses in the hearing. We’re allowed to give opinions based on all the evidence including witness statements,” he says. The company’s next focus will be on the growing presence of batteryelectric vehicles, which come with their own challenges in determining how a fire could ignite. As mining moves towards fully electric operations, Munday says the industry will have to stay at the forefront of battery technology and energy storage. “We’re learning a lot about that very quickly – I think that’s going to be a growth area for us in the future,” Munday says. “It’s much more difficult to be certain the fire has been completely put out or if all energy has been discharged before examination, which is something firefighters are dealing with at the moment.”

Fire safety



he consequences of a fire starting at a mine site are catastrophic. Fires can potentially lead to site-wide shutdowns, productivity losses – and in the most serious cases, fatalities. While Australian mining operations require stringent fire safety measures, the risk of one occurring requires effective management and mitigation. In 2019, 141 fires occurred on mobile plant at New South Wales mine sites alone, according to data from the NSW Resources Regulator. JSG Industrial Systems combats this problem with the technologically advanced Muster fire suppression system. The system is designed with intelligent sensors, including the MusterWire linear heat detection sensor and system pressure transducer. This allows the system to constantly monitor plant and equipment to ensure mine operators have complete oversight and awareness of a potential fire. JSG Industrial business development manager Dale Sharpe says the linear heat detection technology used on the Muster product is more reliable than traditional fire suppression methods. “It’s very important to have a system that operates correctly,” Sharpe tells Safe to Work. “One good thing about the Muster system is its use of linear heat detection technology. “This means we have a lot less joins

JSG offers technologically advanced fire suppression systems.

and hosing where the system could potentially leak from.” The Muster system is also capable of detecting any faults during routine checks to speed up maintenance processes, which can prevent long stints of unwanted downtime at a mine site. For Sharpe, a fire suppression system is vital to ensure the safety of a mine operation. “Any fire system is what we refer to as a frontline safety system. It’s right at the forefront of keeping operators safe,” Sharpe says. Since entering the fire industry, JSG has been a leader in the technological advances of fire suppression systems. Muster exemplifies this development with its cloud-based Muster360 software, which allows users to design bespoke fire systems and complete full


risk assessments that ensure the fire suppression system meets AS50622016 certification. “Apart from a fire suppression system needing to work on a physical machine, a lot of paperwork is involved in the background to ensure the system is designed, installed and serviced correctly,” Sharpe says. “Muster360 can achieve that by taking care of the paperwork involved with the compliance of a fire system. “It also allows you to design a fire system for a specific machine and identify what is likely to cause it to catch fire through a risk assessment.” Sharpe says the Muster fire suppression system can already be used for electric vehicle fires, but further enhancements and innovations are on the horizon in this area.

“Electric mining machines are developing at a rapid rate, which means that all manufacturers are having to develop new mediums, and that’s something the Muster team is also doing,” he says. Muster fire suppression systems are used by major mining companies across Western Australia, which is made possible through JSG’s network of distribution partners such as fire services provider Paull & Warner Resources (PWR). For around five years, JSG has worked with PWR to deliver the Muster systems to the market. PWR installs, services and maintains Muster fire suppressions systems at mines across the Pilbara region. “The business relationship has progressed very well with us as a service provider and them as an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) certified product supplier,” PWR fire technical services manager Brad McCallum says. “The communication between us and JSG is very open, we engage very well with them when there are any issues or improvements or system changes that are required.” PWR has grown to become JSG’s largest vendor in Australia as

Fire suppression systems are vital to ensure the safety of a mine operation.

demand for Muster fire suppression systems increases. “I think with the way that the relationship has been tracking and the support that we’ve been receiving from JSG over the last five years, it is a real testament to how well we are working together,” McCallum says. McCallum says that mine site fires commonly occur from engine heat sources such as diesel engines and fuel sources. He emphasises that without an effective fire suppression system, the cause of these fires can remain unknown. “Miners that don’t use the Muster system may be missing out on the visibility of not only their

Fires commonly occur from engine heat sources such as diesel engines.


fire systems but how their fleet is performing,” McCallum explains. The Muster fire suppression system contains an alarm panel which delivers 24/7 monitoring and a diagnostics module that can display system pressure, battery status and system faults in real time. McCallum says the diagnostics module is a key aspect of what puts the Muster system above the competition. “If something does go wrong, such as a discharge event, the system can be interrogated at a higher level if an investigation needs to be undertaken,” McCallum says. “It gives us the ability to have great visibility on assets and being able to look at historical information to give an accurate snapshot. We can find out why the system is discharging depending on a certain point of time.” This provides peace of mind to mine operators by giving them understanding of how a fire started, which can prevent additional costs and downtime. The Muster system’s diagnostics module also encourages safer industry practice by providing technicians with access to data regarding system faults and historical event logging following a system activation “Following an emergency event, if you don’t have the ability to find out what’s happened and why a machine is down, it could lead to possible financial losses or worst-case scenario loss of life,” McCallum concludes.

Health & wellbeing


The LIVIN Tour reached more than 1400 people in 2019.


pproximately one-in-two Australians experience mental illness over the course of their lifetime. Research also suggests that less than 50 per cent of people experiencing mental illness will access professional support. Those in rural and lower socioeconomic areas are particularly at risk, which requires the community to work together to support each other and normalise the conversation. Research released in January this year by headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation found that young people in critical age groups (12 to 14 and 18 to 21) are reporting significant increases in feelings of isolation. The findings – revealing a substantial increase since the data was last recorded in 2018 – comes as young people in these age groups enter a transitional period in their lives with returns to school, study or work. Many young people aged 12 to 14

will be starting secondary school for the first time, while those aged 18 to 21 may be starting the shift into further study or work. Clinical practice executive director at headspace Vikki Ryall says young people in these age groups may need additional support as the impacts of COVID-19 are still being felt. “The move to secondary school from primary or from school into further study or the workforce can feel quite daunting for young people in any instance and COVID has now added extra complexity,” Ryall says. “It’s worrying to see young people in these age groups recording increased feelings of isolation.” From August this year, the Gold Industry Group and LIVIN will embark on their third national tour to empower students across Australia to speak up and provide much-needed practical tools on mental health through more than 80 relatable workshops.


Announced at this year’s Gold Industry Group and Deloitte annual breakfast at the Diggers & Dealers Mining Forum, the Gold Industry Group LIVINWell School Tour will visit schools in the regions Gold Industry Group members operate in across Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory. LIVIN is an Australian charity founded on the Gold Coast in honour of Dwayne Lally, who took his life after living with a mental illness in silence. In June 2017, the Gold Industry Group held member and community workshops in Perth and Kalgoorlie with LIVIN founders Sam Webb and Casey Lyons, to break down the stigma attached to mental illness and give people the basic tools to seek help and help others. The Gold Industry Group also collaborated with City of KalgoorlieBoulder to produce a short film, where the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Youth Council interviewed LIVIN founders who shared

a message of strength to the young people of the Goldfields. This short film was screened for the first time at the 2017 Mental Health Week WA Opening Ceremony held in Kalgoorlie and has been played throughout schools in region. In 2019, the Gold Industry Group in partnership with LIVIN embarked on a national tour in March and April of that year to bring LIVINWell workshops to member offices, mine sites, schools and the wider community across Australia to help break the stigma often associated with mental illness. Delivering more than 50 LIVINWell workshops across Australia during those months, the tour reached more than 1400 people and as a result, the program was extended. Visiting member offices and sites, as well as local schools and the community, the relatable sessions which shared lived experience and practical tips received overwhelmingly positive feedback. LIVIN co-founder and chief executive officer Casey Lyons says it has been incredibly rewarding to partner with the Gold Industry Group to further this positive impact and highlight the importance of mental health education. “We have educated over 80,000 people since 2013 and thank Gold

The program has educated more than 80,000 people since 2013.

Industry Group enormously for their contribution to this figure and helping us continue to smash the stigma of mental health,” she says. “Mental health is a positive concept that is sometimes misunderstood. It is about wellness rather than illness and relates to feeling resilient, enjoying life and being able to connect with others. “LIVIN is launching a generational change. It’s all about living your life at the top and encouraging one another to talk about their feelings and challenges.” LIVINWell is the charity’s evidencebased 45-minute mental health education program that has been developed and reviewed by qualified psychologists and is delivered by LIVIN’s certified facilitators all around Australia.

The school sessions have received overwhelmingly positive feedback.


Gold Industry Group executive officer Rebecca Johnston says the power of LIVIN’s program is in connecting with the audience through a relatable brand, by sharing lived experience and providing practical tools. “LIVIN is relatable, everyone walks out of a session feeling connected, supported and empowered, knowing they are not alone and embracing their mantra ‘It Ain’t Weak to Speak’,” Johnston says. “The Gold Industry Group are proud to continue to partner with mental health charity LIVIN to ensure thousands of students across Australia are given the tools and encouragement they need to help themselves and their mates.” Since establishing their partnership in 2017, the Gold Industry Group and LIVIN have completed two tours, successfully connecting, supporting and empowering gold industry workers, their families, friends and members of their local community to speak up, seek help and help others. The LIVINWell workshops will equip students with conversational strategies to drive stigma reduction, knowledge to identify warning signs and symptoms of mental health challenges, strategies to help friends or family at risk or struggling, strategies to help themselves including coping, resilience and stress management, and information on when and where to go to get professional help.

Eye safety



any workplaces instigate an eye safety program for their employees as part of their overall occupational health and safety conditions. It is important to understand that ordinary eyewear such as fashion frames and sunglasses do not provide adequate protection against injury and workrelated hazards. Safety glasses and goggles are specially made to protect from impact, dust, splashes and other potential

All Bolle Safety prescription lenses are certified to the medium impact resistance AS/NZS 1337.6 standard.

hazards, while prescription glasses are made purely to improve vision, not for protection. Prescription glasses are often made of a non-safety standard lens, so an incident involving impact could result in major injury. Bollé Safety has a range of safety eyewear suitable for wearers of prescription glasses. These take a variety of forms depending on preference, but they all maintain the Bollé Safety standards of style and comfort. They fall into two main categories: safety eyewear that is worn over prescription glasses, or safety glasses with prescription lenses. SAFETY EYEWEAR ON TOP OF PRESCRIPTION LENSES If keeping the wearer’s own prescription glasses is important, having protection that fits comfortably over the top without digging in or slipping is key. This range of glasses is called over the glasses (OTG). Bollé Safety offers wearers two options when it comes to OTG with safety glasses over prescription glasses or safety goggles over prescription glasses. In the former category, the Tryon OTG can be worn over most prescription glasses and are very comfortable, with brow protection and extendable flex 160-degree co-injected temples. Bollé Safety’s exclusive Platinum anti-scratch, anti-fog coating increases the longevity of these glasses, which are available with clear or smoke lenses.


The no-metal components of the Overlight II makes this frame ideal for food handling, while still offering full protection from side, top and bottom angles. The Override features telescopic temple arms that allow for adjustment and a secure, comfortable fit over prescription glasses, while the single, distortion-free lens maximises visibility. A Platinum Lite anti-fog, anti-scratch coating on both sides of the lens keeps vision clear in humid environments In the latter category, the Pilot 2 is available in clear, smoke or CSP lenses, so whether you’re indoors, outdoors, or both, there’s a lens tint to suit. Pilot 2 is also available with a neoprene strap and is ideal for oil and gas environments. The Pilot 2 Fire is made with the needs of firefighters in mind. Whatever the model, Pilot 2 offers an excellent field of vision and the Platinum coating increases the longevity of wear. The Atom model is for those looking for a smaller profile and more compact pair of goggles. Still offering a great peripheral vision, Atom is lightweight and offers medium impact protection as well as protection from splashes. The Atom also comes with an optional mouth guard, offering full-face protection. The Coverall is ideal for work in clean rooms, with an economic option that offers good visibility, adjustable strap and can come vented or sealed, depending on preference and use.

SAFETY EYEWEAR WITH PRESCRIPTION LENSES According to Bollé Safety optical dispenser Claire Leverell, OTG glasses and goggles can be “cumbersome and uncomfortable,” no matter how much effort is put in by the manufacturer. “Whilst OTGs fulfil the need of protecting a worker’s vision, wearing an OTG over your prescription spectacles can damage the frame and lenses,” Leverell says. “This is especially true with strong prescriptions for near sighted, far sighted, or astigmatism. If your prescription spectacles are your only pair, this can be a problem.” Wearing two pairs of glasses can also cause slipping and extra fogging, which can decrease visibility and increase discomfort, which is not ideal. “Bollé Safety prescription spectacles are made to the individual needs of the wearer. Unlike OTG’s they are not a one-size-fits-all solution. The wearer can

Kick is one of Bollé’s most popular ranges.

The Baxter RX can be used as safety glasses or sealed eyewear.

select a frame that is comfortable for their face as well as looking stylish in the workplace,” Leverell says. As comfort, visibility and style are all factors that affect whether safety eyewear is worn, prescription safety glasses are likely to be more appealing to the wearer than OTG frames. “Bollé Safety covers a wide range of corrections and is available as single vision, progressive, bifocal and extended near lenses,” Leverell explains. “The lenses can be clear, photochromic or polarised and include coatings such as anti-reflection or antifog. That means they can be totally customised for the wearer. “Almost anyone who requires vision correction would benefit from wearing Bolle Safety prescription spectacles in the workplace.” Furthermore, all Bolle Safety prescription lenses are certified to the medium impact resistance AS/NZS 1337.6 standard and all frames come with side shields. Bolle Safety offers four options when it comes to safety eyewear with prescription lenses. The B808 has ventilated side shield for extra protection, comes in black or red, and in large or small. A non-slip nose bridge and tip-grip temples keep them


from sliding off, maximising safety. Available in brown, smoke or black frames, the Drift has non-slip nose pads and comfortable temples, and prescription lenses are available in tinted, polarised or clear. The Kick offers medium protection while remaining stylish and comfortable. According to Leverell, it is the best seller in the Bollé Safety prescription range. “Our most popular frame is Kick. It is fashionable, lightweight, colourful and has integrated side shields. It looks great in an office environment or on the work floor,” she says. Kick is available in tortoiseshell, orange/black and grey/black; has tinted, polarised or clear lenses for outdoor or indoor work, and the lenses can be polycarbonate or Trivex depending on preference. The Baxter RX can be used as safety glasses or sealed eyewear, by way of a removable foam gasket and strap. With a highly wraparound frame, Baxter provides comfort and style, and the waterproof foam gasket and strap offers effective protection from splashes and dust. Lenses are available in polycarbonate or Trivex and can be clear or tinted depending on preference.


WA MINING CONFERENCE PERTH | SEPTEMBER 22-23 The WA Mining Conference will showcase the best practices, technologies and strategies that are pushing mining forward in Western Australia. In September, the event will take place at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre and will highlight the most important issues shaping mining across the state. With the mining industry pitched to grow in the coming years, the WA Mining Conference will discuss expansion of remote and deeper minds, investment, community engagement and sustainability in Western Australia. The event will feature speakers including Minerals Council of Australia chief executive officer Tania Constable and METS Ignited chief executive officer Adrian Beer. •

NEW LEADERS CONFERENCE BRISBANE AND ONLINE | SEPTEMBER 28-29 AusIMM’s New Leaders Conference returns in September 2021 providing young mining professionals with an exclusive opportunity to learn from, and engage with renowned mining leaders. Delivered in person and online, this conference provides access to engaging presentations and discussions on topics and issues impacting young professionals based on the thoughtprovoking theme, Champions of Change. Topics explored during the conference include leadership growth and development, diversity and inclusion, social and environmental impacts, safety leadership and mental health, and technology trends. Join delegates from around the world to hear from leading global experts, participate in robust discussions, see the latest mining innovations, and meet with speakers and peers at networking events. • new-leaders/

SAFETY IN ACTION | SYDNEY | SEPTEMBER 29-30 Safety in Action has been the meeting place for the Australian health and safety industry for more than 20 years. In September 2021, Safety in Action will come to the Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, allowing the industry to meet,

connect, learn and explore the latest mine safety innovations. The event will feature a large-scale exhibition, allowing people to browse the newest products, technologies and services. It will also have a thoughtprovoking conference and seminar series across two days. These series will examine the regulatory landscape, showcasing the latest research findings from the sector’s most critical thinkers, and provide insight and focus for safety professionals in the context of the post COVID-19 pandemic workplace. •

AUSTRALIAN MINING PROSPECT AWARDS BRISBANE | OCTOBER 14 The Australian Mining Prospect Awards will return as an in-person event this year after pandemic restrictions hampered the night in 2020. The Prospect Awards are the most esteemed and prestigious awards in the Australian mining and minerals processing industry. Since 2004, the Prospect Awards have been the only national awards program to stop, take a look at what the mining industry is doing, and reward those who are excelling and going above and beyond, recognising and rewarding innovation. Nominations for the awards are free and must recognise companies and sites from across Australia. Join Australian Mining for an evening of celebration as we acknowledge the collective success of the industry. •

FUTURE MINING CONFERENCE PERTH | DECEMBER 6-8 AusIMM and the University of New South Wales are excited to welcome back the International Future Mining Conference to Perth, Western Australia and online in December 2021. The global demand for minerals and extreme mining conditions are just some


of the factors that present a challenge for the future of the mining industry. Bringing insights and learnings from a range of disciplines and industries, the Future Mining Conference will showcase the latest technologies and innovations integrated into mining operations. The accepted abstracts are now online. Featuring more than 100 submissions, these will give you a detailed look into the themes and technical presentations that will be covered at the conference. Hear from; Andrew Dempster on ‘Integrating Space and Mining Engineering: A System Engineering Perspective’, Francois Aguey-Zinsou on ‘Hydrogen power for the mining industry’, Peter Johnson on ‘Lost Opportunities with Technology Management’, and many more. • future-mining

INTERNATIONAL MINING AND RESOURCES CONFERENCE (IMARC) MELBOURNE | JANUARY 31 FEBRUARY 2 2022 After going virtual in 2020, IMARC will be back in 2022 with a hybrid event – welcoming thousands of guests from Australia and overseas, in person and online. More than 130 countries will participate in Australia’s most influential mining event, with more than 200 exhibitors and 70 hours of networking opportunities to take advantage of. The event encompasses a three-day conference diving into topics of exploration, investment, production optimisation technology and global opportunities. Additionally, the expo floor will cover 13,000 square metres to accommodate the bigger-and-better machinery and equipment on show this year. Tickets range from free passes through to premium delegate passes, so visit the site below to book a spot now. Please note, IMARC was postponed from its 2021 dates due to the impact of COVID-19. •



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