Hunter Valley Operations has been announced as finalists in the NSW Mining 2023 HSEC Awards.
The company have been nominated for their adoption of a global first dust exposure software system to better protect the health and safety of its workforce.
The real-time monitoring application, Exposi, is an advanced software solution developed by Australian workplace health and safety company GCG.
HVO Health, Safety and Training Manager, Joel McLaren said the system integrates with HVO’s existing approach to workplace health monitoring to provide a more intelligent and faster way of identifying and resolving potential health issues in the workplace.
The Exposi application combines in-person real-time task video capture with advanced analytics and dashboard reporting for better health exposure control management.
Joel said HVO began piloting the system in partnership with GCG in 2021 and it helped resolve an issue with our tyre fitter team picked up by its existing monitoring system.
“We already had employees wearing personal dust monitoring devices as part of our health monitoring program,” Joel said.
“That data is analysed in a laboratory and then used to identify and resolves issues and monitor compliance with health and safety guidelines.
“That monitoring originally picked up an incident of crystalline silica exposure, so we changed the procedure and believed it was resolved following retesting.
When the issue reoccurred, we used the Exposi application to better understand the root cause of the problem in real-time.
“While our dust sampling methods are accurate and reliable for full shift monitoring, they provide a single average result over an entire shift.
“The new system sees staff wearing a GoPro or similar device combined with an on-person real-time monitoring device (which can log results every second) to determine what’s occurring at a task level, such as when a worker is buffing vehicle tyre rims.
“With this integrated knowledge, we were able to identify and implement new appropriate controls – including a prewash, ongoing water suppression and the position of the tyre fitter as we were able to identify the source and mitigate its impact directly.
“Since making those changes, we have had no issues with silica exceedances during tyre fitting, with all results well below 50 per cent of the Occupational Exposure Standard.”
Joel said the Exposi application is now an integral part of HVO’s workplace health monitoring and management system. He said the system brings a range of benefits.
“We can more effectively reduce worker exposure to occupational hygiene risks and enhance worker safety, Joel said.
“It reduces regulatory exceedance costs and the amount of downtime caused by uncertain exposure levels, positively impacting productivity.
“The Exposi application presents information in a more visual and useful way. This makes it more appealing for staff to use and helps them to implement necessary safety measures.
“At HVO, the health and safety of our workforce is a top priority, and this Australian innovation is another tool for us to keep our workers safer and healthier.”
There are eight finalists in the upcoming awards, across four categories. The winners will be announced in August at the 2023 NSW Mining HSEC Conference and Awards in the NSW Hunter Valley.
Hunter Valley Operations operates the HVO South and HVO North open cut coal mines north of Singleton. Its 1,200 plus strong workforce mines some of the world’s highest quality thermal coal as well as metallurgical coal. HVO is proposing to extend its operations to 2050. This will support around 1,500 ongoing local jobs and continue support for local businesses, charities and community infrastructure and projects.