Occupational health and safety (OH&S) innovation has taken a back seat in recent years with industry often more focused on productivity gains but leading Brisbane-based technological solutions provider, LSM Technologies Pty Ltd is finding ways to marry the two. According to LSM chief executive Peter Woodford, the firm’s product technologies and engineering services provide solutions geared to extending critical component service life, reducing equipment damage, providing significant costs downs in maintenance, increasing productivity and enhancing workplace safety and operator health/compliance.
“Each one of our product technologies, combined with our technical services, should not be considered as capex, rather as an immediate return on investment in assisting you to achieve significant cost reduction within an organisation,” Woodford said.
LSM provides 12 specialised product technologies applicable to a number of industries and the company has been providing these field proven solutions since 2004.
Vehicle | People | Infrastructure
Interaction Woodford pointed to the company’s collision avoidance systems as an example of how OH&S improvements could be combined with productivity gains.
“According to a recent report the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mine vehicle interactions are the second highest cause of serious accidents and high potential incidents in Queensland mineral mines and quarries,” he said. “It is acknowledged that 80-90% of fatalities, injuries and high potential incidents are a result [or a significant factor] of restricted operator visibility around vehicles and equipment.”
Woodford said industry undertake a risk assessment before employing at least two “lines of defence” to mitigate such incidents including implementing ISO 5006/16001 to eliminate “blind spots” and installing proximity/warning/detection sensor systems and fleet track, positioning and situation awareness systems.
“Our collision avoidance systems – including camera viewing and radar proximity detection solutions – both require minimal investment and little ongoing maintenance,” he said. “As well as leading to increased operator awareness and lower fatigue, the systems can also deliver operational cost savings including reduction of vehicle/equipment damage and infrastructure and quicker turnaround of vehicles such as dump truck fill-dump cycles.”
Tyre monitoring systems is another technology area where obvious OH&S gains can be married with productivity improvements to eliminate incidents of tyre blow outs, roll-overs, wheel-offs and tyre fires.
According to a New South Wales Office of Transport Safety Investigation, 43% of bus fires in 2016 were confined to the wheel well and in 2015 one worker died and another was serious injured after a tyre exploded during work at a Queensland coal mine.
In 2015, the West Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum updated its tyre safety machinery guidelines to include tyre monitoring systems are installed in mining equipment and all rubber-mounted vehicles. Woodford said not only could monitoring systems improve OH&S outcomes, they do drive down operational costs.
“By implementing TMSystem technologies, vehicle operators are able to dramatically reduce maintenance costs, extend tyre service life, reduce fuel consumption, improve braking/handling and control – and of course – less downtime,” he said.
Hundreds of tyre monitoring products exist on the market but, Woodford said, LSM’s TMSystems are robust, were fit-for-purpose and contained heavy duty components to ensure reliability and longevity of the system. Woodford said he favoured external tyre sensors as they could be quickly and easily transferred and used on any type of pneumatic tyre with no special skills required and virtually no loss of productivity to replace and repair.
A breath of fresh air
Some OH&S/productivity issues are so misunderstood industry regularly fails to grasp them. Woodford points to the continued presence of workplace respiratory disease as evidence of industry’s inability to recognise the extent and ramifications of airborne particulate and fibre exposure of harmful/carcinogenic “dust”.
“It is the “dust” we do not see that is more of an issue,” Woodford said. “The best protection against exposures is a certified cabin pressuriser/filtration system but care must be taken in the design of the system and that it is applied correctly, compliant and will mitigate effectively.”
Woodford said a cabin pressuriser/filtration system design should consider several aspects:
• correct function of the heavy vehicle air conditioning system to maintain proper thermal comfort of the occupants
• filter media type and arrestance efficiency for exposure of particulate/fibre component
• recirculation air filtration
• correct cabin pressurisation LSM’s Q-CABAIR/RESPA systems monitor dust levels but also address other concerns.
Woodford said monitoring of carbon dioxide levels in pressurised cabins was an area in which industry had failed to grasp the dangers and potential productivity gains. “If the air conditioning system is operated on 100% recirculated air and if the external filter is blocked, carbon dioxide concentration will occur quickly,” Woodford said.
“It is an area no one is talking about when it comes to driver fatigue. On some recent trials of vehicle cabins measured the allowable standard of an average of 700-1,000 ppm carbon dioxide inside the cabin but within five minutes of closed windows and recirculating air conditioning increases more than 4,000 ppm which will cause sleepiness, loss of concentration and alertness, fatigue and acidosis in any properly sealed Fixed / Mobile Plant Cabin- including LVehicles. “We believe it is a significant contributor to premature fatigue and resulting micro-sleeps.”
Driver distraction and fatigue has been recognised by industry as a key hazard and LSM’s Driver Fatigue (and Distraction) monitor combines a dash mounted, day/night, infrared illuminated camera with intelligent video algorithms to provide an easy to install, autonomous, turnkey solution.
“It’s no secret driver fatigue is one of the biggest killers on our roads and worksites,” Woodford said. Queensland Rail (QR) has been the latest group to adopt LSM’s driver fatigue products, having trialled them over the last two years and is now planning a fleet-wide implementation. “This technology will form a vital part of QR’s overall fatigue management practises and procedures for field maintenance operations,” a QR spokesperson said. “The system is a cost-effective solution to help protect drivers from fatigue-related incidents occurring while providing of additional reporting capabilities for management.”
Woodford said the system’s unique pupil identification and facial recognition technology allowed it to detect and analyse the changing characteristics of pupils and signs of drowsiness such as yawning. “When the DFM identifies, a driver has become inattentive, either due to drowsiness or distraction, it will provide in-cab audible/visual warnings and subsequent alarms to the driver.”
Producing and capturing such data has become vital to modern mining but storing, using and analysing it can often prove a burden. Woodford said LSM’s SAFETRACS web based software management system allows users to glean useful data out of the company’s product technologies.
“It integrates data from our tyre management systems, DFM camera and cabin filtrationpressurisers to assist our customers in collecting live telemetry information for analysis, alerting, reporting and ensuring compliance,” Woodford said.
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