In November 2018, the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 was amended to introduce a number of significant reforms.
A number of the changes were aimed at improving the focus on contractor management and safety. We discuss these important changes and their practical implications for the industry.
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Betzien – The Brave New World – Navigating the WHS Landscape
Samantha Betzien Partner, MinterEllison Rhian O’Sullivan 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.
Williams – Technical Development in Explosion-Protected Polymer-Based HV Couplers and the Potential Safety Benefits to the Mine Industry
Stephen Williams Engineering Manager, Connec High Voltage Coupler Systems High voltage (HV) electricity is one of the primary sources of energy within underground coal mines, the effective control of which is fundamental to maintaining a safe working environment. Furthermore, the equipment typically used in HV transmission and distribution is heavy, requiring manual handling to facilitate installation in what can be deemed a confined and harsh working environment. HV cable coupler and connection systems are an integral and necessary part of mining electrical systems. Underground mining especially has a frequent need to connect and disconnect cables as a result of both the mining process and cable/connector inspection, maintenance and testing regimes. However, current coupler designs which have been in use for several decades consist primarily of a heavy metallic body that inherently limits methods for “testing for dead” prior to touching the coupler. This presentation describes at a relatively high level the various associated safety benefits that have been incorporated into developing these polymer coupler systems, including the ability to reliably “test for dead” prior to disconnecting a coupler and the substantial weight reductions that allow for improved manual-handling. Having been supported by ACARP from the outset, Connec has developed the world’s first polymer-based Restrained (≤3.3 kV) and Bolted (≤11 kV) HV coupler systems that are both ANZEx and IECEx certified for use in underground coal mining environments.
Worland/Collins/Forsyth – Fail-Safe Compressed Air Cleaning
Simon Worland Caltex Dr Dave Collins and James Forsyth Synergetics Consulting Engineers Use of compressed air to clean electrical equipment is a routine maintenance task in heavy mining equipment (HME) across the Queensland Mining Industry. During cleaning elevated levels of harmful dust can engulf the compressed air cleaning operator for extended periods and increase the risk of developing lung diseases including pneumoconiosis and silicosis. In 2017 the Queensland Mines Inspectorate (Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, 2018) reported that approximately 50% of all respirable dust and Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) exceedances in surface coal mines were directly related to the use of compressed air for compressed air cleaning of equipment prior to maintenance. Respiratory protection has historically been viewed as the primary control to protect the health of compressed air cleaning operators, as higher order controls such as engineering controls have not been considered feasible. The principal of applying engineering controls for compressed air cleaning of haul truck electrical cabinets was reported and demonstrated at the Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference in 2018 (Worland, Stream, Brett and Collins). Here the electrical cabinets were converted into full enclosures under negative pressure resulting in a physical barrier between the worker and the dust generating compressed air cleaning task. This paper describes the further development and field testing of engineering controls over the intervening 12 months. Safe compressed air cleaning has now been demonstrated for a broad range of HME including trucks, excavators, dragline MG sets and stationary equipment. The controls incorporate continuous monitoring of airborne particulate with feedback systems to shutdown compressed air and demonstrate that safe compressed air cleaning is achievable.
Wells/Farrelly – SAFETY Training has Changed Dramatically in 24 Months, Are You Keeping up with the Pace? If You’re Not Talking About VIRTUAL REALITY – You’re Falling Behind
Ramsay Wells Business Manager, Queensland Mines Rescue Service Matthew Farrelly Manager VRT, Queensland Mines Rescue Service We live in a world that is constantly changing, and that change continues to accelerate. Technology has improved the way we train, everything from video animations to learn from disasters, through to e-learning to enhance assessment capabilities. A new era of training is here, a growing number of organisations are recognising the power of simulation based training. Simulation based training is hardly new, it’s been used in military and aviation for over 50 years – however it has always been expensive and out of reach for most organisations. Enter the wave of VR and AR headsets available to the consumer, meaning that this technology is now affordable for any business. eg. Walmart uses VR to train over 1 million associates, seeing an improvement in their test scores by 10-15%. This has been achieved by providing almost 20,000 VR headsets across their stores. QMRS started delivering simulation based training 24 months ago, using desktop-based VR. Then 12 months ago presented headset based training to the industry. Now, the service is preparing to roll out free-roam based VR training for the industry at their Rescue Stations. 24 months is all it has taken to see such a massive change to the way people can be trained. This presentation will show the journey that Mines Rescue have taken to equip the industry with access to the next generation of cost effective training, that is available right now for the industry’s workforce. We will highlight the benefits of improved safety outcomes, better prepared employees, safer work environments and value dollar propositions in your continued push to stay meaningful in this technology revolution.
Smith – Managing Cognitive Fatigue and Brain-Centred Hazards
Warren Smith Executive Consultant, Dekra Insight Australia Organisations commonly put controls in place to address typical workplace exposures that can cause harm. They also attempt to make use of human performance tools and other measures that aim to address human error. Unfortunately, these efforts often don’t yield tangible results as evidenced through operational upsets and unplanned events. This session will explore Brain-Centred Hazards and will demonstrate how accurate, consistent and sustainable hazard recognition and situational awareness can only be achieved by first addressing these Brain-Centred Hazards in our workplaces. In particular, the audience will explore the difference between traditional hazard identification and an approach that increases deep noticing for optimal hazard ID. Additionally, the audience will learn the hidden dangers of cognitive fatigue and how it diminishes situational awareness and hazard recognition, and simultaneously produces higher risk-taking actions that can lead to injury, upset, catastrophe, or reputational damage.
LaBranche/Cliff – Respirable Dust – Rumsfeld was Right!
Nikky LaBranche Industry Fellow, Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre, Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland David Cliff Professor of OHS in Mining, Minerals Industry – Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre, Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland NIKKY LaBRANCHE – Nikky is a resources sector professional with mining engineering and health and safety research experience spanning three continents. She is currently an Industry Fellow with the Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre undertaking a strategic gap analysis of particulates in the resources sector. Her research interests also include incident management practices and accident/injury analysis and investigation. Nikky is currently Chair of the AusIMM Southern Queensland Branch and a Board Member of the AusIMM Health and Safety Society. She holds an MBA and both an RPEQ and Professional Engineer credentials in the US. DAVID CLIFF – David has over 30 years in the resources sector in Australia. His experience spans both research and consulting settings as the manager of both the Occupational Hygiene Environment and Chemistry Centre and the Mining Research Centre at SIMTARS, Occupational Health and Safety Advisor to the Queensland Resources Council and Professor of OHS in Mining and Professor of Risk and Knowledge Transfer at the University of Queensland. David has provided OHS advice particularly in the areas of OHS risk management, governance and education and training. He has provided this specialist support to governments, unions and companies.
Aitchison – Mine Emergency Response System Project
Glenn Aitchison 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.
Pearce – Meeting the Challenges of Caring for Dust Disease Victims in Our Coal Mines
James Pearce Advocate, Black Lung Victims Support Group The re-emergence of Dust Diseases in Queensland’s coal industry is having a devastating effect on workers, their families and mining communities. More than 100 employees have been diagnosed as suffering from different forms of pneumoconiosis, predominantly Black Lung and silicosis. There are many more Victims being regularly identified. While the main challenge facing our entire industry is the effective prevention of Dust Diseases in our coal mines, the identification of all Victims is a moral obligation on all stakeholders in the industry. This involves not only world’s best practice testing of the present workforce but also of those who have retired from the industry and those who have left it before retiring. While prevention and identification of Black Lung are essential, the most pressing issue at the present time is the treatment and health care of those who have been, and will continue to be, Victims of these Dust Diseases. This paper on behalf of Black Lung Victims will outline our proposals for how the industry working with government can provide for the life-long medical care needed for the best possible quality of life for sufferers. We owe them at least that.