Newlands Northern and Zemek reach safety finals

XSTRATA Coal’s Newlands Northern underground mine in Queensland and Zemek Engineering are finalists in this year's state Safe Work Awards.
Newlands Northern and Zemek reach safety finals Newlands Northern and Zemek reach safety finals Newlands Northern and Zemek reach safety finals Newlands Northern and Zemek reach safety finals Newlands Northern and Zemek reach safety finals

Underground at Xstrata's Newlands mine in Queensland.

Lou Caruana

The awards highlight innovation and commitment to workplace health and safety. They are run by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, and the Electrical Safety Office,

Newlands Northern developed a machine to reduce the need for working at height, as well as cutting down on manual handling and waste.

“The ‘trickle duster’ can hold four tonnes of stone dust, which means a difficult task previously done by three workers can now be done by one machine,” attorney-general Jarrod Bleijie said.

The trickle duster is essentially a pod that can hold stone dust and disperse it while advancing during the mining process.

Previously, three people took 45 minutes to hang two one tonne bags on chains behind the exhaust of the auxiliary to capture the stone dust. The trickle duster setup time takes one person just five minutes.

The Xstrata Coal Newlands surface operations mine has also developed coal-handling preparation plant tag readers to eliminate the risk of people being crushed by a bin discharge when the cabin of a vehicle is in the drop zone.

Based on the numbers on the tag and the channel the numbers are received on, the control system is able to determine the position of the cabin.

The system includes entry lights, and an entry and exit reader. When the truck leaves the drop zone, the reject dump bin control is disarmed, allowing a bin to discharge. The system is re-armed when the cabin of the truck passes under and past the drop zone.

Bleijie said the other Mackay finalist, Zemek Engineering, developed a system for workers using electrical shovel-dipper handles.

“The ‘dipper handle rotation system' has led to fewer mobile cranes in the workshop, improved traffic management and a reduction in fumes,” he said.

“Most importantly, it has reduced the risk of workers being hit by falling objects.

“Workers no longer need to work at dangerous heights and there is less call for potentially hazardous manual tasks.”

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