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. 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.
Site Safety and Health Representative
BMA Saraji Mine
The mining industry has historically managed fatigue in an ad hoc fashion. A majority of leaders simply told their employees to “toughen up and deal with it” this is all part of the job. The slightly better leaders would encourage their employees to focus on sleep and preparing for work when they were away from the job. Most employees accepted that they were paid well and “being tired is simply part of the job and why they get the big bucks”.
This presentation will focus on the journey Saraji mine travelled to develop our current fatigue culture, procedures and education materials. Currently the site has a solid process, a good education program, and strong tools for managing fatigue. The current culture has improved but it is a long journey and many employees still haven’t embraced the fatigue policy fully.
The journey was initiated by the site SSHR, through bipartisan support of Management, incorporating key work force participation. Site was able to learn and understand that our miners were struggling throughout the shift and were exposing themselves and other road user to an increased risk of a fatigue related accident. This presentation will share some details on the journey Saraji has embarked on to achieve a common objective of reducing fatigue related events.
Chairman, Circadian Australia
Until recently, key decisions on fitness for duty in the mining industry relied on subjective self-assessment by individual workers and subjective assessments made by Supervisors and Health and Safety Professionals.
Circadian Australia’s holistic approach to enhancing Sleep Quality, Sleep Quantity, Alertness, Safety, Health, Wellbeing and the Sustainable Resilience of workers in the Mining Industry, combines scientifically validated Fatigue Science Readiband™ Real-Time and Predictive Alertness Actigraphy data with Awareness, Education, Training, and confidential sleep coaching for individuals.
By collecting and analysing scientifically validated, objective, sleep and alertness data we help mining industry workers to take the guesswork out of measuring and managing sleep, fatigue and human performance and to visualise their alertness levels for the day and/or night ahead so they can operate and perform at their very best by knowing how circadian disruption, shift work and extended hours are impacting sleep quality, sleep quantity, their real-time and predictive alertness.
Developed with proprietary algorithms from the US Army Research Lab, the Readiband™ is the only validated system than can understand the cumulative effects of sleep and translate them into an objective, predictive measure of one’s alertness (fatigue).
Senior Customer Safety & Fatigue Consultant, Caterpillar Inc.- Caterpillar Safety Services
Sleep deprivation, abnormal sleeping patterns, long commute times, and highly repetitive, sustained and monotonous tasks are common predictors of fatigue across the mining industry. Fatigue is a reality that our industry faces, and while all would agree that it is a critical risk that must be managed, understanding the severity of that risk and developing the associated controls has been a challenge… until recently. Using wearable devices, the condition of our operators, employees and managers can be assessed easily and accurately, enabling solutions for fatigue mitigation and management to come to the fore. The dilemma, however, is that solutions developed for one operation do not always apply to other operations due to the unique differences in rosters, sleeping conditions, commute times and a multitude of other variables.
Having worked across four continents, supporting various mining operations identify, mitigate and manage their fatigue risk, Jenny Krasny will present to you not only the state of fatigue in our industry, but also some of the unique and innovative solutions customers are adopting to manage fatigue risk.
Dr. Andrew Lingwood
Director and Consultant Occupational and Environmental Physician, OccPhyz Consulting
Fatigue is a vital health and safety issue in the mining industry with a multitude of medical and organisational causes and implications.
This presentation will focus on the nature of circadian rhythms and how they can contribute to fatigue. The ways in which shift work can impact these matters is specifically considered, given the relevance of varied work and shift patterns to the mining industry.
The physiological effects of fatigue will also be discussed, including how these can translate into performance-based effects.
The presentation will also consider the complex interactions between the multiple medical, social and employment factors which contribute to fatigue.
Dr. Nick Mabbott
The Science of Sleep Director, Beyond Midnight Consulting
A raft of work has been done regarding the reduction of fatigue risk. However, a portion of fatigue risk is brought into the workplace by employees who don’t fully understand sleep and its nuances. Good sleep is the cornerstone of fatigue management as it allows employees to reduce fatigue risk prior to arriving for work. Fundamental to this is to have the workforce educated on all aspects of sleep. This includes: What healthy sleep is, how to target the correct amount, how to pay back sleep debts, addressing sleep disorders, developing a healthy attitude toward sleep, understanding health and wellness implications of sleep, and implementing controls when fatigued.
This presentation provides the understanding of the processes that occur within the brain when we sleep. It follows with discussion around different stages and cycles of sleep and how each of these stages add to, or take away from, our safety, health, wellness and productivity. Using the above information, the author has seen first-hand, the differences in people after applying better sleep management practices. There have been improvements in physical and mental health, productivity and safety. Healthy sleep provides a great opportunity to be the “best version of yourself”.
Prof. Naomi Rogers
Sleep and Fatigue Specialist, Naomi Rogers Fatigue
Barrister, Crown Law
Prof Naomi Rogers
Naomi has an international reputation in the areas of circadian disruption, sleep loss and consequences on neurocognitive function and health. She has received numerous awards, including an NHMRC Howard Florey Centenary Research Fellowship and a Tall Poppy Award. She is a past President of the Australian Society for Medical Research, and past Director of the Australasian Sleep Association and the Sleep Health Foundation and served on the Executive Committee of the World Federation of Sleep Societies.
She works as a Specialist Fatigue Consultant in various industries including coal mining in Queensland and NSW, maritime, transport, defence, NASA and health care; and has served as an expert witness in coronial inquests and other legal cases. Naomi works extensively within the Queensland Mining Industry, with various companies and mine sites, the SSHRs and IHSRs and the Inspectorate.
John was admitted to practice law as a Barrister and Solicitor in 1981. He has practiced both privately and in government in a number of Australian jurisdictions – in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Norfolk Island and Queensland.
Since 1996, John has acted as Counsel Assisting in Mining Warden’s and Coronial inquiries in virtually all mining, explosives, petroleum and gas fatalities in Queensland. Additionally, he has been retained in a range of other fatality inquiries where the primary issue has concerned hospital misadventure, aircraft failure, fatigue, or the suspicion of murder. To this point, John has acted as Counsel Assisting in over 90 public fatality inquiries.
For many years, John’s interests and experience have focused on the critical review of safety and health management and training systems, on accident investigation methodologies, and on compliance issues.
Dr Ross Tynan
Research Lead, Everymind
Supporting a healthy workforce has a range of potential benefits: improved employee performance and morale, improved safety, cost benefits, and broader social benefits to employees, their families and community. Achieving such gains requires timely and early access to effective options for providing health in a form that is tailored to the target population and the Industry more broadly. While health screening has been introduced in some sectors of the Coal Industry, innovative, accessible treatment options that wrap around available workplace health care options are needed.
This paper reports on the development and evaluation of a proposed solution; an online portal (‘Health-e Mines’) that provides a direct, real-time link between coal mining employees and the latest evidence based online screening, early intervention, and treatment programs for enhancing mental and physical health. Since January 2018, there have been 817 Health-e Mines site users. This has translated into 1,485 sessions by coal miners visiting the website, who have viewed, on average, two pages per session. The majority of visitors are accessing the site on Sundays at 4am, Mondays 12-3pm, and Wednesday 6-11am. Evaluation data on facilitators and barriers to use of Health-e Mines will also be reported.
Dr. Philip Tynan
National Toxicologist, Safe Work Laboratories
It is widely accepted Customs and Police Drug confiscation, self-report surveys (such as the National Household Drug Survey), and roadside and workplace drug testing give only a crude picture of overall community drug use. By assaying drug concentrations in sewage effluent, it is possible to obtain timely information on the actual spectrum of drugs used at a site and calculate the average drug dose per person.
Wastewater Drug Testing has been used internationally and in Australia (in the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program 2016 – 2019) to measure and interpret drug use within national populations and at selected worksites enabling the identification of problem areas, drugs of concern and monitoring changes in use patterns. A great advantage of Wastewater drug analysis is that it is not subject to response bias and can be used as an outcome measurement tool to gauge the effectiveness of a workplace’s drug use intervention strategy. Workplace drug use may reflect local drug use but as Australian workplace studies (including minesites) have shown, it can often be a reflection of the unique drug-taking culture at that workplace.