Project Officer, Simtars
Information deficiencies during emergencies is increasingly seen as a critical issue for emergency response. Information should be gathered to provide “intelligence” about the underground conditions after a major incident, such as an explosion or rock fall. This project investigated four key areas related to information gathering:
Post explosion atmosphere monitoring:– An industry study into available, low powered, sensors were conducted. The study was to identify commercially available equipment to sample the mine atmosphere post an underground incident.
Ultra-resilient communication system:– An investigation was undertaken into the feasibility of components for a robust and resilient mine communication network. The network must survive an underground incident and be able to transmit information in and out of an underground mine environment.
Blast protection (or blast resilience):– The blast protection was evaluated through subjecting different shapes of enclosures to actual blasts, in an explosion propagation tube.
Navigational aids:– A series of test were undertaken to determine the suitability of using visible light, infra-red as well as radar to aid in self rescue. All test were undertaken in a “dusty”, or low-visibility, environment.
This paper will present the results obtained for each of the key areas and highlight the potential of such a system in an underground coal mine environment.
Dr. Rebecca Allen
Researcher, School of Psychology, The University of Newcastle
Coal mining has been internationally recognised as a high-risk industry with high fatality rates in comparison to other occupations. Within the Australian coal mining industry, the level of occupational risk has been identified as 70% higher than the national average. The present study undertook an exploratory investigation of the causes of risk-taking among Australian coal miners. The study is the first to use a longitudinal approach to investigate the association between safety culture and risk-taking among Australian coal miners.
This approach allows clearer conclusions about the causal relations between variables. Data was collected via repeat survey from a sample of 233 open-cut and underground coal miners from New South Wales and Queensland. Perceived safety norms were found to be a significant longitudinal predictor of reported frequency of risk-taking. Miners who perceived it to be normal for miners at their mine site to ignore safety procedures and take risks were more likely to report taking safety risks in the future. This finding suggests that poor safety norms cause subsequent increases in risk-taking behaviour. Safety interventions are considered, focusing on improving perceived safety norms to potentially reduce risk-taking.
Dr Snezana Bajic
Technical Services Manager, Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (Simtars)
Reliable gas monitoring is a key element to ensure that the mine based controls are effective.
Coal mines in Queensland and New South Wales have been facing issues in controlling tailgate methane levels and recently there have been two serious spontaneous combustion events. Legislation and Australian standards make specific requirements for the installation and maintenance of gas monitoring systems.
This paper discusses the issues related to gas monitoring, tailgate methane control, alarm set points and proposals for feedback loops on alarm notifications and acknowledgements. The paper will not discuss individual mine events but will focus on reliable gas monitoring to enable early detection and proactive actions to be taken.
A/Director, Coal Mine Workers’ Health Scheme
Director, Health Surveillance Unit, Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy
Since the re-identification of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis in Queensland in 2015, and reforms resultant from the Monash and UIC independent expert review of 2016, the department has implemented improved screening methods for the detection of respiratory disease in coal mine workers.
As at March 2019, more than 30,000 chest x-rays have been dual read to International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards, resulting in 99% returning a negative result for disease. Of the 1.0% which screened positive, 15 have resulted in a diagnosis of disease.</p .
The department receives reports of cases of mine dust lung disease (MDLD) through a number of pathways; doctors, mine operators and the workers’ compensation scheme all provide confirmation of diagnoses within the mining and quarrying sectors. As at March 2019, 99 cases of MDLD have been reported across all sectors since 1984 (89 since 2015).
Separate to the reforms implemented in the mining regulatory framework, the Queensland Parliament is considering a Bill to establish a Notifiable Dust Lung Diseases Register to be administered by Queensland Health. This will provide a further mechanism to ensure the incidence of disease is understood.
This paper provides an overview of the current screening pathways to detect MDLD in Queensland mine workers.
Special Counsel, MinterEllison
In 2018 there were a number of amendments to the resources safety legislation in Queensland including in relation to contractor management and the introduction of a positive obligation on officers to exercise due diligence. This positive obligation is a significant change and it is important that organisations in the resources sector conduct a review of their safety governance systems to ensure that their Board and Executives are able to discharge their personal obligations.
Other potential reforms to the Resources Safety Acts have been debated that would essentially bring them into line with the recently amended WHS Act, including in relation to the introduction of an industrial manslaughter offence. There has also been a number of serious safety incidents in the Queensland mining sector which has meant that the Mines Inspectorate is on high alert.
This paper will discuss the amendments, proposed reforms and regulatory environment in the current climate, including providing insights into current industry issues.
Dr. Daniel Bongers
Chief Technology Officer, SmartCap Technologies
Operator fatigue monitoring has been embraced in mining operations worldwide, with one glaring exception – Queensland Coal Operations. Why? Legislation requires workforce consent when introducing any initiative that the incorporates a criteria of assessment of a coal mine worker’s fitness for duty.
This presentation will detail an early 2019, two-site initiative to navigate this process, with a particular focus on workforce engagement, the communication process, consultation with workforce representation, concerns, challenges, and results.
Senior Inspector of Mines, Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy
This paper discusses critical controls – those which can prevent fatal and catastrophic events from occurring in Queensland surface coal mines. To understand what the critical controls are we have to identify all fatal hazards in surface coal mines.
Analysis of all fatalities that have occurred in Queensland coal mines since 1969, show hazards causing the majority of fatalities in surface mines are distinctly different to those causing the majority of fatalities in underground mines. During this 50 year period there have been 132 fatalities in Queensland coal mines, 94 in underground and 38 in surface mines.
A breakdown shows 86% of fatalities in underground mines were caused by principal hazards. In surface mines only 24% of fatalities were caused by principal hazards. This means for surface mines the majority of critical controls relate to a number of fatal hazards which are not principal hazards.
Based on that analysis the Queensland coal mine inspectorate has sought information from surface coal mine companies relating to the fatal hazards and critical controls identified within their risk identification systems. This information will be developed into audit and inspection guidelines which the inspectorate will apply when carrying out inspections and audits at surface coal mines.
Principal Consultant, Sentis
Accurate and timely reporting of safety incidents is a crucial component of a positive safety culture. These invaluable learning opportunities allow us to adapt, make improvements and prevent future injury. Yet, recent Australian data has found that on average, 31% of incidents go unreported and in some organisations this figure rises as high as 53%*. And it’s not just frontline workers failing to report; leaders and managers also underreport at alarming rates.
Explore insights from a global research study of 12,460 participants, including mining specific results and case studies
Discover underreporting rates across team, leader and management levels
Understand the three key drivers of underreporting and the risks to your business
Learn strategies for addressing underreporting in your business
*based on a sub-sample of 6,899 participants in Australia.
Dr. Tristan Casey
Lecturer, Griffith University
What exactly is a ‘safety culture’? How is one achieved (and is it even possible)? What is the link between leadership and safety culture? As a result of the plethora of answers to these questions, there is also diversity of approaches to safety culture improvement within mining. The LEAD model is an integrated and evidence-based framework that focusses on the leadership and team work practices required to build a safety culture.</p .
Freely available through the Safety Leadership at Work program, the LEAD model and toolkit are designed to empower organisations regardless of size or industry to achieve positive safety culture outcomes. Developed through a partnership between academia (Curtin University and University of Queensland), government (Workplace Health and Safety Queensland), and industry (including the Sustainable Minerals Institute), the LEAD model has been operationalised as a practical toolkit.
A cohort of 12 workplaces representing a diverse snapshot of different sectors (including the mining industry) participated in the design, delivery, and evaluation of the LEAD toolkit. In addition to presenting the LEAD model, my presentation will also describe the main phases and resources within the LEAD toolkit, and present a short case-study around the outcomes achieved through this project.