Upper Hunter Community Services, BHP Mt Arthur Coal partnership wins prestigious award

GLENCORE was the big winner at the 2018 NSW Minerals Council Health, Safety, Environment and Community Conference Awards at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley this week.

The victors were announced in four categories – workforce health, mine safety, environmental sustainability and community engagement.

And, more than 500 people from across NSW celebrated excellence and innovation in NSW mining.

“It was great to see our award winners recognised by such a large number of their industry peers and, on behalf of all our members I warmly congratulate them for their achievements,” NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said.

“All of our winners were of a very high calibre, demonstrating mining’s commitment to innovation and the pursuit of excellence.

“Special congratulations must go to Glencore this year for winning two of the four award categories in 2018, with the Glencore Ravensworth Operation securing both the environment and safety honours.

“The innovation recognised by these awards is an important part of our industry’s continuous effort to deliver better outcomes for our industry, our workforce, and our local communities.”

Winner - Health Excellence 

Mt Owen Positively Healthy - Site Health Score - Thiess Mount Owen

For the past five years, Thiess Mt Owen has been running an annual Positively Healthy program with about 20 per cent of the workforce participating each year. 

With the support of Ethos Health, the company aimed to increase employee participation in the 2016 program and achieve real weight loss and positive overall health outcomes across the mine’s workforce. 

One-hundred and eighty-eight employees participated in either the six-week challenge or a similar six-week personal action plan, with the total combined weight lost 237kg - the equivalent of almost three average sized men. 

The annual result of the Positively Healthy program from November 2016 to November 2017 was a total combined weight loss of 139kg. 

More than 140 participants of the program were able to maintain an average weight loss of 1kg of bodyweight.

Winner - Safety Excellence 

Sizer Teeth Removal Innovation - Glencore Ravensworth

Crusher teeth require replacement up to three times a year.  

This maintenance task traditionally involves the use of a 6.4kg copper sledgehammer to strike the used teeth, loosening them so they can be removed.  

There are 116 teeth on the crusher, each requiring an average eight hits with the hammer by a maintenance technician, which equates to 928 strikes to remove all the teeth.

The constant swinging and striking with the sledgehammer poses significant fatigue, ergonomic and soft tissue injury risks to the maintenance technician undertaking the teeth removal.  

A new, safer method was needed to eliminate the use of the sledgehammer.

With no alternative method available on the market, the maintenance team at Ravensworth brainstormed new approaches.  

A hydraulic flange splitter was considered, however modifications would be required to allow its use on the crusher teeth.

Following extensive safety and engineering consultation with regard to modifying the flange splitter, a successful trial was conducted on a full row of crusher teeth.

Winner - Environment Excellence 

Quantifying NO2 concentration in blast fumes using drone technology - Glencore Ravensworth

Given the proximity of operations to local communities, the potential impact of blast fumes is taken very seriously at Ravensworth and across all operations across the Hunter 

The current method of monitoring dust levels is complicated by the difficulty in gathering sample data to assess the accuracy of the standard industry guidelines.

Ravensworth addressed this issue by combining drone technology and gas sensors to gather accurate and quantifiable nitrogen dioxide concentration data from blast plumes. 

This data is able to compare the colour of the blast plume with levels of nitrogen dioxide and also provides information about how the gases break down as they move away from the blast source.

Results of the project have shown a correlation between the fume colour/intensity and nitrogen dioxide concentration which both supports and allows for future calibration of the standard industry guidelines. 

The project provides the data to build greater confidence on blast fume impact prediction in the industry, regulators and importantly our community.

Winner - Community Excellence 

Strengthening Community Resilience through Partnership - Upper Hunter Community Services and BHP Mt Arthur Coal

As part of BHP Mt Arthur’s commitment to the local community, the Community Capacity Building project (CCB) was developed as a four year, $1.14 million partnership between BHP and Upper Hunter Community Services (UHCS). 

The collaboration between Mt Arthur and UHCS has helped several local and regional organisations by connecting them with the appropriate community agency or service; providing them with a meeting space within the UHCS building; and assisting them with event planning, networking and grant applications. 

As part of the CCB program, UHCS is developing a Mental Health App which will improve community access to information and services relating to mental health and wellbeing.