Blackwater takes gold in safety

THE BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) Blackwater mine in Queensland has won the 2004 National Safety and Health Innovation Award.

Staff Reporter

The winning innovation by the Blackwater team is an engineering solution that significantly reduces the risk of ‘crush’ incidents involving operators of vehicle loading cranes. This is achieved through ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ controls including a ‘bump bar’ that, if contacted, ceases operation of the crane.

Now in its sixth year, the awards run by the Minerals Council of Australia, promote the development of innovative solutions to everyday safety and health issues identified by minerals operations across Australia.

MCA chief executive Mitchell Hooke said the awards were an effective way to harness and recognise the creativity of people working in the minerals industry.

“When you break it down – ‘people’ and ‘innovation/technology’ are two of the minerals industry’s key strengths and together they are driving the industry’s ultimate goal of zero harm," said Hooke.

“This is about working day by day to achieve an industry free of fatalities, injuries and diseases, and about instilling a sense of ownership for improving safety and health performance from the ground up, using technology and innovation,”he said.

Three other sites were also recognised at the Awards Presentation Dinner held in July in conjunction with the NSW Minerals Industry Safe Mining – Healthy Business Conference in the Blue Mountains.

A highly commended award was presented to BMA’s Crinum Mine in Emerald, Queensland, for designing electronically controlled roof bolters that reduce injuries (eg. shoulder, back, neck and arm) by eliminating the need for operators to stretch in awkward/incorrect positions to insert drills or spanners into the drillhead chuck.

Rio Tinto Coal Australia’s Kestrel Mine was awarded an acknowledgement for the Minsup Isolation Lockout Device. The Device enables the econovalves in the mine’s air-and-water reticulation system to be positively isolated using personal danger locks.

Hooke said the awards would continue to foster the industry’s persistent “can do” attitude in finding solutions to identified safety hazards, thus improving the industry’s safety and health performance and strengthening its commitment to protect its number one asset – its people.