And the Award Goes to…

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A prostate cancer awareness and early detection program and a world-first system that makes tyre fitting at mine sites much safer have won the prestigious Health and Innovation Awards at the 2023 Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference (QMIHSC).

QMIHSC Chair Larnie Mackay congratulated all award finalists and winners who are contributing to a safer resources sector in Queensland.

“We had an outstanding list of finalists and choosing winners in each category would have been a difficult job,” Larnie said.

“The quality of the programs and initiatives entered for the awards is an indication of the commitment of workers and companies to always be looking for new ways to keep our industry safe and healthy.

“Resources companies commit a lot of time and money to developing new programs that improve safety and it’s great to see these initiatives being shared with other companies so the whole of the mining industry benefits.”

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Queensland-based not-for-profit organisation, ManUp! Australia, which delivers a rural and regional Prostate Cancer Education program, joined with Glencore’s Hail Creek Mine to take the message direct to its workers in a unique way that won them the QMIHSC Health Award.

The award was accepted by Jill Costello, ManUp! Australia, and Kara Walker, Health and Rehabilitation Coordinator at Hail Creek Open Cut mine.

Since 2021, Hail Creek has displayed a Komatsu 960E Tray painted in the Man-Up branding as a constant reminder to their workforce to book a prostate check-up. Last year, workers also began wearing blue hi-viz shirts on Mondays to reinforce the message.

Through a range of initiatives, employees at the mine have now raised $38,000 to support ManUp! Australia. Even more importantly, increased testing has led to the early detection of 12 prostate cancers in the mine’s workforce.

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This year’s QMIHSC Innovation Award was won by BMA Goonyella Riverside’s Frank Mele and Joseph Guinea from JJD Innovations for a new tyre-fitting system that eliminates much of the risk for workers changing large earthmover tyre and rim assemblies.

The development of ‘Rim-Lock’ was the result of discussions with tyre fitters about the risk involved in entering the crush zone in between the tyre and rim assembly.

The solution was a series of nuts that can be fixed to the rim prior to fitment that hold the tyre and rim assembly in place while the original nuts are fitted to the rim.

By instantly and securely locking a tyre and rim assembly in place, without the need for any manual interaction from personnel, Rim-Lock removes the human element from a crush zone and eliminates the risk of serious injury or fatality.

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Winner of the People’s Choice award was Matthew Downing from Anglo American’s Dawson mine who used artificial intelligence (AI) to eliminate cable belt dislodgements that expose maintenance workers to safety risks.

The mine has 27 kilometres of cable conveyors as part of the raw product transfer system across the site. Clips that connect cables had been prone to fail, leading to dislodgements that posed safety risks for workers and took days to repair.

By using cameras and AI coding, Matthew developed a program to monitor clips for signs of failure, removing the need for workers to stand in the sun manually checking.

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A North West Queensland man with more than five decades experience in the mining sector and an outstanding record of community service has been named winner of the prestigious 2023 Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference (QMIHSC) “Legend” award.

Steve Carson’s family emigrated from England to Mount Isa in 1963 when he was 13 and he began working at mine sites in the Northern Territory not long after leaving school in the late 1960s.

Steve moved back home in 1970 to take up a job as a tyre fitter, working underground at Mount Isa Mines and has remain connected to the North West resources sector ever since.

His many roles included four years as a District Workers Representative and member of the Mining Safety and Health Advisory Committee in which he became known for his ability to communicate with workers to make a genuine improvement to safety outcomes.

Away from the mine sites, Steve was an avid road cyclist and started the Mount Isa Border ride that has raised over $100 thousand for charity.

Now retired, he’s turned his attention to raising money for local animal rescue groups and last year raised $14,000.

Steve said he’s humbled to have won the award.

“I have been very fortunate to work in an industry that has given me so many opportunities and to be recognised with this award is a highlight of my career,” Steve said.

“Throughout my long career, I have seen a lot of changes in the attitudes to workers’ safety and I am proud to have contributed to achieving better outcomes that make our industry safer for everyone.

“The resources sector offers terrific opportunities for anyone looking for a rewarding and exciting career and they can be confident that safety will always be the number one priority.”

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