BEST PRACTICES

Cutting-Edge Technology Provides Enhanced Worker Safety

ICA’s member companies have always maintained an ongoing commitment to the men and women who make up the copper industry workforce. Investments in new ways to protect those who serve in various capacities throughout the copper life cycle are yielding cutting-edge new technologies that revolutionize the industry.

Challenge:

Fatigue is often a problem for mine truck drivers. To combat this challenge, new technology is being employed to aid truck drivers, who have one of the most dangerous and important jobs at a mine.

Solution:

Modern-day mining continues to improve in terms of safety and environmental sustainability. The latest innovation to help bring this essential metal to the surface is brain wave technology. By employing a cutting-edge six-inch strip that gets fitted into the headgear of truck drivers, employers such as BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Anglo American are using brain wave technology to detect fatigue. This next-generation technology alerts drivers, supervisors and back office personnel about potential hazards, thereby providing improved monitoring, increased worker safety and a better bottom line.

Result:

According to BHP Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mackenzie, the program—currently deployed in 150 trucks at the Escondida copper mine in Chile—is expected to deliver as much as $12 billion in lower costs, improved output and safety gains. In addition to the clear safety advantages for drivers, the technology is expected to decrease sustaining costs by as much as a third. Further, findings are being used to improve road conditions and signage, characteristics that are impacting driver fatigue. Additional BHP global sites, including locations in Australia, are expected to utilize the exciting new technology.