The NSW Minerals Council’s 2019 Health, Safety, Environment and Community Conference Awards showcase those in our industry who go above and beyond. This year’s winners are no exception.
Over 500 people from across NSW were in attendance to celebrate excellence and innovation in NSW mining and to hear the winners announced on August 5 at Crowne Plaza.
“It was great to see our Award winners recognised by so many of their industry peers,” said NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee.
“All our finalists were of a very high calibre, and on behalf of the NSW Minerals Council I congratulate them and all of our Award winners. The excellence and innovation recognised by these Awards are an important part of our industry’s determination to deliver better outcomes for our industry, our workforce, and our local communities.”
Winner – Health Excellence
Narrabri Gumboot trails with Crawford boots
Whitehaven Coal – Narrabri Mine
Given the dark, wet and rocky environment in underground mines, it’s no surprise that foot and ankle injuries are some of the most common experienced by miners.
In response to reports of foot, ankle and leg pain from the 300 strong workforce at Whitehaven Coal’s Narrabri Underground mine, the mine approached Gunnedah-based podiatrist Penny Crawford to design footwear which could replace the current gumboots that the miners were using.
Alongside a team of industrial designers, specialised manufacturers and traditional rubber boot craftsmen, Penny developed the WedgeTech Personalised Lock-Fit System. The System works by locking the foot into a stable position into the boot.
After six months, the mine conducted a trial with miners wearing the specially made boots and found that 24 out of 25 participants would recommend the boots over other boots and their ratings for the boot far exceeded the ratings for non-Crawford boots.
Another trial 12 months later found that 75 percent of the original participants were still using the same Crawford boot, where other boots would be worn through every four months.
Whitehaven Coal now plans to introduce these new boots more broadly on site and educate its workplace about proper footwear.
Winner – Safety Excellence
Myuna Monorail Bracket
Centennial Coal – Myuna Mine
Centennial Coal’s Myuna Mine in west Lake Macquarie employs over 250 people. The mine uses the herringbone mining system, part of which requires a mesh strap to be attached to the ceiling every 1.5 metres to hang ventilation tubes.
However, Centennial found that this method led to an increase in shoulder injuries which, in turn, led to delays in production.
In an effort to address these issues, the Myuna Innovations Team met with its workforce to develop an alternative approach, which led to the ‘Monorail Bracket System’ that hangs down from the mine ceiling, eliminating the need for miners to install anything above their heads.
The elimination of mesh, in favour of the brackets, drastically lowered operating costs by around $500,000 a year, increased productivity and, most importantly, enhanced the health and safety of Myuna Mine’s employees.
Winner – Environment Excellence
Nest Box Program
Yancoal Australia – Duralie Coal Mine
Located in the Southern part of the Gloucester Basin, Yancoal’s Duralie Coal Mine has identified a marvellous way to protect endangered and native fauna through the use of Nest Boxes.
Large areas within the Gloucester Valley have been cleared through logging, leading to a loss of native vegetation and damaging the biodiversity in the area. This has meant a lack of hollow-bearing habitat in trees for local fauna, as the majority of the vegetation is regrowth and too young to contain hollows for fauna to live in.
To fix this problem, as part of their biodiversity offset strategy, the team at Duralie developed an idea to build artificial nest boxes which provide a habitat for a range of endemic native birds and mammals.
Running since 2012, the Nest Box Program has exceeded expectations, with a plan to expand the program to accommodate more species.
Winner – Community Excellence
The consultation of cultural recordings of stories told by Kamilaroi People
Idemitsu Australia Resources – Boggabri Coal Mine
Idemitsu Australia Resources’ Boggabri Coal Mine, which employs 600 people, has worked closely with the traditional owners of the land, the Kamilaroi people, to provide an educational resource that can be used by all Australians to improve their cultural awareness and understanding of the Kamilaroi Nation.
Made in consultation with members of the Kamilaroi Nation, the 20-minute film portrays the Dreamtime stories and the cultural traditions of the Kamilaroi. The team at Boggabri Coal hosted screenings of the film to the public and has given a copy to all local schools to raise awareness of the area’s rich indigenous connection.
This is a world-class example of a mining company investing in a project to highlight the significance of and cultural connection to ‘country’ by traditional owners. The standard that Boggabri Coal has achieved with its production ‘The Kamilaroi’ evoked genuine emotion and interest from members of the public, teachers and students alike.