Aug 04, 2017

Innovation drives mining safety advances

Innovation drives mining safety advances

A grassroots initiative in Queensland has led to the development of a safety device which is now being fitted across Redpath Australia’s fleet worldwide.

The Safe Stop anti-jam door unit is among the 10 finalists in this year’s Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference innovation awards.

Redpath HSEQ manager Graeme Christie said it was good to see the Safe Stop, which prevents crushing injuries from heavy vehicle doors, gaining such recognition.

“We try to get an innovation in there (the QMIHSC awards) every year if we can,” he said.

“Innovation is good for the business and the Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference is a really good event.”

Mr Christie said Redpath used a rewards and recognition program to drive innovation within the business, with its own silver and platinum awards.

“People at the working face are encouraged to come up with innovations that can improve health and safety in the workplace as well as production and other areas,” he said.

In this case a leading hand at Redpath’s plant yard in Brisbane came up with the idea, broadly modelled on child safety latches, and developed it with assistance from a mechanical engineer, Mr Christie said.

It was a response to the risk posed by large, heavy doors in mining equipment such as underground loaders and shotcrete machines, which can cause debilitating injuries if they slam on operators’ fingers or hands.

The Safe Stop device developed by Redpath Australia.

“We sent it out to an engineering firm, they manufactured it and we trialled it for about three months on an underground shotcrete rig,” Mr Christie said.

The group had previously trialled a different version, a drop door latch mechanism, which had proved too ‘clunky’, he said.

The successful model has been fitted to about 20 pieces of equipment in the Redpath fleet across Australia and a second batch of 30 units has been manufactured.

“We are starting to retrofit them to equipment as it comes through the workshop,” Mr Christie said.

“Because we are a global company, we have sent it overseas as well and they will be starting to get it manufactured and fit them on fleets in Mongolia and Canada and other global projects.”

  •  The Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference will be held The Star (formerly Jupiters) Gold Coast for three days from August 6. More than 600 people are expected to attend the event, which features keynote speakers, industry orientated presentations and discussions, health and innovation awards, and trade displays. More at www.qldminingsafety.org.au