The costs of not building safety into the way a company does business are counted not just in dollars and cents, but in lives lost and the lives of those left behind changed forever. One of the highest priorities in the mining industry is safety of employees and applying appropriate risk management strategies to ensure this.
While the incidences of vehicle collisions and rollovers maybe low frequency, the impact of the consequences can be devastating for all involved.
As a specialist manufacturer of Rollover Protection Systems (ROPS) and Falling Object Protection Systems (FOPS), ROPS Engineering Australia’s (REA) primary objective is to keep the world’s drivers of mine site vehicles safe. This not only provides our customers with vital risk management assistance but also provides peace of mind to all the families of our customers’ employees.
ROPS were originally developed in Sweden in the 1950’s to protect tractor drivers. In Australia, ROPS on tractors have been mandatory since 1982 with a 72% reduction in rollover fatalities since then. Now the use of ROPS has extended to many more applications ranging from light 4WD vehicles to heavy vehicles in use on mine and construction sites.
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. The photographs shown here demonstrate the impact of the presence of a ROPS/FOPS in a vehicle rollover situation. Rollovers can occur through speed, cornering, substandard road surface conditions, overloaded vehicles, driver fatigue, driving on a slope or vehicle collision.
Without a ROPS there is a greater risk of the roof caving in and crushing the occupants as the roof comes into contact with the ground and does not have the strength to withstand the weight of the overturned vehicle. A quality ROPS will serve to minimise the effect of roof crush. As can be seen in these photos, a ROPS on a vehicle which rolls at 80km/hr certainly does save lives.
From a business perspective this means the installation of a ROPS provides a significant reduction in risk and costs associated with such accidents.
REA was formed in November 2014 by the merger of ROPS Engineering and ROPS Australia. The combined business holds approximately 40% of the Australian ROPS/FOPS market and brings together principals with a combined 30 years’ industry experience.
We install our ROPS/FOPS nationally and also supply kits around Australia and globally including locations such as Sweden and Indonesia. All our ROPS/FOPS are built and destructively tested in accordance with ISO 3471 and ISO 3449 and certified as such.
In addition, REA has ISO9001:2008 certification providing our customers with confidence that we have the right systems in place to ensure consistency of quality and service delivery every time.
While the international standards stipulate requirements for design and testing they do not provide guidance for ongoing maintenance, inspection or recertification. The Mine Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995 require ROPS to be fully functional whenever a vehicle is in service and the WA Department of Mines and Petroleum’s Mines Safety Bulletin #126 states that “it is expected, as part of the mining operation’s safety management system, a ROPS or FOPS is appropriately inspected and maintained to confirm its function is not impaired.”
REA provides such and inspection and recertification service for ROPS/FOPS, including those manufactured by others.
At REA we are continually developing the design of ROPS/FOPS to suit all types of vehicles and the strength of our relationships with large vehicle manufacturers means we are at the forefront of ROPS design for new vehicle models. For example in April this year we developed a ROPS for a new generation of Scania, shipping to Sweden and overseeing the installation for the launch of the new vehicles.
With three licenced motor vehicle repairers on the team and in house drafting and design capability, REA is also well placed to meet the needs of customers requiring a wide range of vehicle body building and modification services including chassis modifications and the fabrication and installation of ancillary equipment such as water tanks, fuel tanks and walkways.