UPDATE: NSW Mining HSEC Conference and Awards Dinner Postponed to February 2022
The NSW HSEC Conference and Awards will be postponed until 20 - 22 February 2022, pending final confirmation from the venue and subject to the health rules allowing it to proceed.
Postponing our flagship event until February 2022 will give us the best opportunity to host everyone that has registered to attend safely and in the format we have planned.
Anyone registered to attend is automatically confirmed for the new dates - tickets and any accommodation booked for the corresponding nights.
For any questions about your registration or your accommodation, please contact FCM Meetings and Events.
If you haven’t yet bought a ticket and want to join us in February, click here to register.
We have put together an incredible program of almost 50 speakers from across Australia to give you insights into trends in our operating environment and lessons from our industry for a safer, healthier and more sustainable NSW mining sector.
Keynote speakers include global futurist, academic and international affairs expert Dr Keith Suter who will talk about economic, geopolitical and environmental challenges and opportunities. Plus we have regulatory updates and a suite of industry case studies from NSW and across Australia to help you improve your work practices and performance.
Please note: All tickets are required to be paid by credit card, so please ensure you are able to do so before registering.
Putting mental health on top of the agenda
The Bloomfield Group
In 2019, a Critical Hazard Workshop involving input from over 400 Bloomfield employees highlighted that poor mental health and worker distraction present a significant risk of fatality across the business.
Bloomfield deployed a simple yet highly effective mechanism to promote mental health, increase awareness of mental health issues, and build a connection between workers and mental health support professionals.
The MY Mindset program commenced with the adoption of the well-known model of a periodic medical. However, instead of a check predominantly focused on physical health, a MY Mindset bus visited every site and gave every single employee a 20-minute one-on-one dedicated mental health awareness session with a member of the business’ Employee Assistance Program (EAP) team. The resulting uptake was high, with 96% of the workforce participating.
The approach broke down barriers and increased the likelihood of workers accessing mental health support when they needed it, resulting in a 54% increase in the level of uptake of the EAP service. What was once a taboo topic was now being spoken about as workers began talking about mental health with their workmates.
Electrical cabinet dust extraction system improvement
Hunter Valley Operations
Historically, the removal of dust from electrical cabinets involved a maintainer blowing out truck cabinets with compressed air. This results in a lot of disturbed dust and health exposure concerns for hazardous airborne contaminants such as crystalline silica and respirable coal dust.
Through collaboration, Hunter Valley Operations (HVO) and Austindo Consulting Services developed an engineering solution. The specialised dust extraction system utilises specially designed custom-made panels which allow electrical cabinets on HVO’s haul truck fleet to be turned into an enclosed cabinet that includes a high flow extraction connection. The worker is then able to use conventional compressed air methods to remove the dust from the now “enclosed” cabinets. The dust is captured via a three-stage cleansing system, then deposited into a sealed collection bag.
Post-implementation hygiene dust sampling indicates that the respirable crystalline silica and respirable coal dust exposure to the worker is reduced to less than 5% of the occupational exposure limit.
Drill windrow detection system
Glencore - Bulga Open Cut
In June 2018, Bulga Open Cut experienced a High Potential Risk Incident when a drill rig climbed up a windrow on the pattern it was drilling and bellied out. The drill rig ended in a position with one track hanging over the high wall, with a 50m drop to the floor below. Had the drill rig fallen over the edge, it would have resulted in a fatality.
Following this incident, Bulga Open Cut designed and developed an engineering solution that involves ‘wands’ hanging down on each corner of the drill. When moved in any direction, they trigger a fail-safe proximity switch linked to the drill's emergency stop circuit.
The solution moves the control to the engineering level on the 'hierarchy of control' compared to previous controls, which were administrative and subject to human error.
Following the success of this solution, all drill rigs across Glencore’s open-cut mines in Australia have had the safety modification installed.
793C Automated Handrail System
Newcrest - Cadia Valley Operations
Cadia Valley Operations maintains a fleet of 793C Haul Trucks. During routine servicing and breakdowns, team members are required to access the rear section of the 793C haul truck with no permanent fit for purpose working at heights controls installed.
Cadia Valley Operations developed a purpose-built automatically deploying handrail system that eliminates the exposure to fall from heights. Previously, team members had to wear a safety harness connected to the space cube to install handrails to the rear frame using the overhead crane.
This new system eliminates the major hazards of fall from heights, falling objects and lifting operations (suspended loads). The system is simple and easy to use; with the press of the deploy button, the handrail system stands up and locks into position in 20 seconds.
Since installing the automated handrail system, there have not been any incidents relating to workers exposed to a fall from heights whilst working on a 793C haul truck.
Dust extraction system aka Mr Snuffleupagus
Glencore - Ulan Underground
The Ulan Underground dust extraction system, also known as Mr Snuffleupagus, provides a safe working environment by removing airborne dust from areas where cementitious products are mixed and applied.
The idea was generated from the front line, where employees were applying shotcrete and plaster products in low ventilation areas. Through consultation between the workforce, the Ventilation Officer and content experts, the dust extraction system was designed with the intention to extract dust at the source.
The system has no moving parts and uses a Clarke Airflow 100 venturi air mover to extract the dust generated by equipment used to mix and apply cementitious products. This simple, innovative idea is easily replicable at a low cost.
Trials have shown that when using Mr Snuffleupagus, the respirable dust level is considerably reduced below workplace exposure standards.
Stratford Coal - Education Support Fund
The Stratford Coal Education Support Fund was established in 1997.
The Fund was created to respond to the challenges of securing skilled people in the region and retaining young people in the community when they complete secondary school.
Working with the Gloucester Shire Council, the local business chamber, high school and community, the Fund was established with an independent committee.
Over its life, the fund has grown in scope and now provides support for University, TAFE and community apprenticeships.
Over the past 25 years, $770,000 has been contributed through the Fund to support local students and businesses. The Fund has made a genuine difference to the lives of 200 tertiary students, 135 apprentices/TAFE students and 55 businesses.
The Fund has benefited Stratford Coal and the local business community, providing skilled local workers. In addition, the broader community has benefited from local employment opportunities.
Revival of the West Wyalong Advocate Newspaper
When the 126-year-old West Wyalong Advocate announced it would close its doors in December 2020, it was a devastating blow for the district. The community lost its local voice and a key custodian of the town’s history.
For Evolution Mining’s Cowal Gold Operations, closure meant losing its primary means of communication with the local community about developments, initiatives and jobs.
Rather than witness the extinction of local news, Cowal Gold Operations consulted with owners, community stakeholders and the Bland Shire Council to find a way to revive the paper, without compromising its independence.
The result is the West Wyalong Advocate Foundation. The Foundation is a not for profit organisation and will have an independent board of directors. Most of the paper’s staff have been re-employed.
After a four-month hiatus, the West Wyalong Advocate was again published on the 14th of May 2021.
Developing an effective noisy miner management program to benefit critically endangered regent honeyeaters
Yancoal Mount Thorley Warkworth
In 2016, regent honeyeaters were discovered nesting on Mount Thorley Warkworth’s biodiversity offset property in the Goulburn River.
The regent honeyeater is a critically endangered songbird, with a current population of approximately 300 individuals. A key threat to the regent honeyeater is the noisy miner, a pest bird that chases honeyeaters from their breeding grounds and destroys nests.
In collaboration with the Australian National University and Australian Vertebrate Pest Management, MTW has implemented an experimental noisy miner management program.
The program has effectively cleared over 785 hectares of regent honeyeater breeding habitat of noisy miners, allowing regent honeyeaters and many other threatened bird species to breed without threats of noisy miners.
The collaborative project has been the most successful noisy miner management program in Australia, leading to two peer-reviewed scientific publications and establishing a framework for how and where to manage noisy miners in other biodiversity hotspots.
Boosting biodiversity - integrating targeted flora translocations in mine rehabilitation
Glencore Mangoola Open Cut
Starting out as a project condition to translocate 1000 plants, this program has grown into the largest-scale orchid translocation project in Australia. Three thousand five hundred orchids have been progressively relocated, along with other slow-growing and recalcitrant flora.
Orchids and other difficult plant species are salvaged from pre-mine land and were initially transferred to Mangoola’s biodiversity offset areas, and since 2015 in the mine’s rehabilitation areas.
Monitoring shows that the translocation can successfully re-establish orchids and other plant species.
The project has significantly progressed the understanding of translocation. Mangoola has been able to apply that knowledge in collaboration with the NSW Government’s ‘Saving Our Species’ program to translocate 250 Denman Pomaderris shrubs, propagated by the Australian National Botanical Gardens to the mines offset and rehabilitation areas.
ENVIRONMENT - HIGHLY COMMENDED
Rix’s Creek Mine proactive and real-time noise monitoring in a complex noise environment
The Bloomfield Group
Rix’s Creek Mine is the closest mine to the community of Singleton.
Bloomfield has pioneered a proactive noise management framework that combines boots on the ground with the latest science of real-time monitoring, to manage a highly complex noise environment.
The framework includes systems for predicting where noise is likely to be enhanced both within the mine and in the community. Rix’s Creek environmental officers who have undertaken a specially designed noise monitoring competency are stationed in the community each day at the points where noise is predicted to be enhanced.
Through the pre-emptive modelling to check compliance with noise limits and real-time operational adjustments, the framework has supported the operation to consistently meet its production targets, reduce noise complaints and has helped maintain Rix’s Creek’s place as a good neighbour.