New Acland among top ten safety innovations

24 August 2012

What started out with a routine check identifying a potential safety hazard has placed the New Acland mine in the state’s top ten mining safety innovations.

New Hope was one of the finalists for the Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference’s Innovation Awards announced this week (August 21).

New Acland General Manager Jim Randell said the mine’s innovation, a safety platform for motor graders, was a classic example of how strong teamwork can overcome a potential problem.

He said the rear windows of the 24H Caterpillar Motor Graders at New Acland had to be cleaned at the end of each shift and the operators had to access the windows from the grader’s tandem housing steps using a long-handled squeegee mop.

“This cleaning method created a slip or fall hazard, plus it also presented the risk of over-stretching and possibly resulting in muscle tears or strains,” he said.

“New Acland’s mobile maintenance team was presented with the problem and met it head on - deciding to engineer a solution.

“The team showed that with innovation, teamwork and dedication it is possible to remove potential hazards, reduce risk and improve safety.

“During the design process, the team also identified that a number of changes were needed, and they came up with solutions together and drove this innovation from an idea to a solution.

“The result is a platform system that allows operators to clean all the windows on the Caterpillar 24H by safely folding up and interlocking with the existing stairs without additional control panels or switches.

“With minimal changes, the design could also be fitted to any grader or machine fitted with a hydraulically-powered step – or, alternatively, with a self-contained hydraulic power supply.”

Mr Randell said the concept of using existing systems and integrating them with additional safety controls has endless possibilities.

“This innovation and outcome shows the value of early identification and reporting processes,” he said.

“New Acland’s Motor Grader Rear Window Access System is testimony to the New Hope Group’s safety systems.

“Our processes start with initial identification, then go through a hazard reporting process, to arrive at a final solution.

“This is a safety success story and it is testament to the fact that all reports at the New Hope Group are treated with a view to true resolution.

“It also reflects a robust safety culture at the company in which staff can feel confident in reporting hazards.”

Mr Randell said although New Acland did not take out the top award, everyone involved was very proud that they had developed a safety innovation that could be shared throughout the resources sector and other industries.