Prof. Robin Burgess-Limerick – Professor of Human Factors, Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre, The University of Queensland
Proximity advisory systems have potential to reduce collision risks associated with surface mining haul-trucks by assisting truck drivers to maintain situation awareness. The design of the visual interface by which information is provided is likely to influence the effectiveness of such systems. During ACARP project C24028, a range of information sources were reviewed including best practice guidelines from other industries. The consequences of different visual interfaces were examined when drivers were presented with potential collision scenarios via a modified haul-truck simulator (Figure 1). Additional information available in a Schematic proximity advisory visual interface was utilised by drivers to reduce collision risk and braking force and decrease travel time; although the effects were smaller in a subsequent experiment involving a smaller number of experienced truck drivers.
Design guidelines have been developed for haul-truck proximity advisory systems. Further work is underway in project C27005 in which a similar experimental paradigm is utilized to examine two of the issues identified as requiring further investigation: the relative benefits of proximity information based on distance only vs collision prediction information; and secondly, the relative benefits of auditory tones vs speech.
One of the major hazards in an underground coal mine is the interaction between mining equipment and humans. This is the result of limited vision around underground equipment and the confined space within which the equipment operates. To address this hazard, various proximity detection systems have been developed.
This paper describes a project that evaluated three proximity detection systems in an underground coal mine. The systems were subjected to a suite of nine scenarios, involving interaction between humans and continuous miners, shuttle cars and LHDs. In addition, the detection zones of the different proximity detection systems, were determined on surface as well as underground. The underground zones were determined under “normal conditions” (reference pattern), in the vicinity of an underground substation, tags at different heights, and multiple tags in zones.
The scenario results provide a documented comparison of the proximity detection systems performance when subjected to the same scenarios. This will allow a mine to make an informed selection of the most suitable proximity detection system. The detection zone results provide a graphical comparison between the performance of a proximity detection system on surface and underground. The results also present the comparison for “normal conditions” of the proximity detection system and when subjected to EMF radiation, multiple tags and tags at different heights.
The project also identified the need to develop a universal specification for a proximity detection system.
Patrick Tyrrell – Australian Coal Industry Research Program
ACARP assists the Australian coal industry to develop and adopt technology and mining practice that leads the world. The program is entirely funded, owned and managed by the Australian black coal producers.
ACARP was established in January 1992 and has had many great achievements that improves the safety and health of our people throughout its many years. What sets ACARP apart from other areas of research is the industry monitors that have direct input to the research that is been undertaken through a collaborative approach that utilises the experience and technical strength of both the coal mining industry and research institutions in solving technical problems and addressing issues of significance to the industry’s long-term future. Any proposed research project that is strongly supported by a mine site and is of interest to a number of coal operations is encouraged. Safety and environment remain key drivers in the program and will continue to be the focus of much of the underground work and a significant component of the open cut and coal preparation programs.
Priorities have been developed by the five technical committees responsible for proposal development and selection and are separated into the areas of:
• Open Cut
• Coal Preparation
• Technical Market Support
• Mine Site Greenhouse Mitigation
While the current priorities are not prescriptive they should act as a guide.
The Current Priorities are: Underground:
• Prevent Harm from Spontaneous Combustion, Ignitions, Mine Fires, Extreme Heat, Explosions, Outbursts, Coal Bursts, Ventilation and Strata Failures – Improved understanding, detection, prediction, protection, selection and design of major hazard management systems.
• Management of Health – including mental health and fatigue.
• Communication to Employees and Contractors of Safety Measures – Improvement such that the information, training and instruction is understood and retained.
• Operator Interfaces and Vehicle Interaction – Improving equipment, automation and remote monitoring and control, also addressing musculoskeletal disorders, improved ergonomics and
• Improved roadway conditions.
• Airborne and Noise Contaminants – Reduce exposure to airborne dust, diesel emissions, and noise.
• Emergency Response Measures – Adequacy and effectiveness.
• Investigation of key practices, including legislative, leading practice alternatives and culture.
Open Cut: The industry is looking for direct or indirect improvements in health and safety across all mining and exploration operations. Areas of interest for open cut mining are:
• Investigation of key health and safety issues and management systems, practices and culture, including legislative leading practice alternatives.
• Management of health including mental health, alcohol and other drugs, return to work and fatigue, e.g. by reduced exposure to noise, vibration, dust and heat, by determining mental health of employees, etc.
• Protection and removal of personnel from hazardous situations such as those around unstable ground, in the vicinity of voids, and around excavations particularly during truck loading.
• General improvement to the health and safety of mining and maintenance operations through novel manual
• Handling aids, including automated technologies or equipment changes.
• Improving equipment operator interfaces, vehicle interaction management, automation and remote control.
• Development of safety in the design of systems and equipment that leads to the reduction of occupational exposure at the source, e.g. noise, dust, blast fumes etc.
• Improve the communication to employees and contractors of safety measures such that the information,
• Training and instruction are provided in a method that allows cognitive retention.
• Development of a cognitive recognition method which addresses the normalising effects that are created due to the human brain predominantly operating in a subconscious mode and failing to recognise changes in their environment that could lead to adverse outcomes.
ACARP facilitates industry and researchers to work together for a common goal that is the improvement of the health and safety of our industry and our people, this is a journey that we all share together.