Improving safety & mine productivity


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Improving safety & mine productivity

  1. 1. Improving Safety and Mine Productivity Using Real-Time Video Technology J Westh1, L Gallagher2 and S Rashleigh3 ABSTRACT Mining companies are moving towards automated haul trucks and other equipment. One reason for this is that if automated trucks can operate in a standard pattern over and over again without variation, then human error is reduced, if not eliminated. The challenge for mining production leaders/managers is to ensure operators follow standard operating procedures for load and dump operations, with each operator doing the same thing, every time. However, operators are only human and inconsistent performance is rife at every mine site. The finger may be pointed at the operators for not doing as instructed. The clarity and variability of trainer instructions may be considered causal to the problem. Herein lies the problem. Almost all operators believe they are following the procedure very closely; moreover, they all demonstrate a strong desire to conform to instruction. Using video analysis and feedback, each operator can be shown where and by how much they differ from the benchmark set by their company. Operators, often for the first time, can see definitively what they are doing, compared to industry best practice. The technology utilised by real-time video (RTV) crews measures time, distance and angles. It can overlay the video of the operator at the load site, with video of the perfect pass. Operators are amazed when they see how near to, or how far they are from best practice. The footage and data gathered by RTV assists operators in understanding exactly what adjustments are required to increase proficiency. It also assists load and dump superintendents to identify where in the process they are losing time. When translated to overburden removal or mineral/resource extraction, the result is large production economies without the need for large capital investment in new automated technology.INTRODUCTIONThe skills dimensionThe mining industry occupies an important place in the nation’s economy despite accounting foronly two per cent of the Australian workforce. The growth rate in employment within the industryover the five years leading up to November 2011 has been 75.5 per cent (Department of Education,Employment and Workplace Relations, 2012); far higher than any other industry in the country. The Minerals Council of Australia predicts that if the mining industry sustains its market share forthe next decade it will require the addition of 156 000 employees to the workforce. This will includeskilled tradespeople, operators and industry professionals (Fraser, 2010). Australia’s unemployment rate has continued to remain low (5.2 per cent in March 2012 – which isconsidered full employment in economic terms) and amongst the lowest in the industrialised world(Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, 2012). Organisations planning the development of new mines in Queensland are predicting they willneed to hire up to 75 per cent of their workforce from other industries. ‘Cleanskins’ – those peoplenew to mining – are already flocking to mining companies in an attempt to capitalise on miningopportunities, lured by inflated salaries and attractive rosters.1. General Manager, Confiance, Level 2, 11 Lang Parade, Milton Qld 4064. Email: Senior Performance Analyst, Confiance, Level 2, 11 Lang Parade, Milton Qld 4064. Email: Graduate Consultant, People Management, Confiance, Level 2, 11 Lang Parade, Milton Qld 4064. Email: MINE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE / MELBOURNE, VIC, 20 - 21 NOVEMBER 2012 1
  2. 2. J WESTH, L GALLAGHER AND S RASHLEIGH There has also been an ongoing trend towards reducing tenure in employment in Australia. Forexample, in 1959 the average tenure was 15 years, which has significantly reduced in today’s climateto an average tenure of just four years. This is supported in the Queensland Government’s Skills andWorkforce Development Priorities 2011 - 2012 (2012), which states that the mining industry for thatperiod had an average length of service of three to four years and a turnover rate of 24.4 per cent. In summary, the rapidly expanding mining sector is already plagued by a deficit of skills, whichwill worsen over the next decade. Australia’s continued low unemployment rate, coupled with highturnover rates in mining, further exacerbates the problem. Recruiting ‘cleanskins’ is a strategy beingimplemented by many companies, which brings a new set of problems associated with adequaterecruitment and training methods to ensure workers’ safety and the mines’ productivity. The skills issues for mining companies have an enormous impact on the productivity andprofitability of the industry today and this will continue into the foreseeable future. Can the issues facing the mining industry be solved by moving toward fewer workers on mine sitesand greater automation? How will organisations tackle the issues around attracting and retainingmine site workers so that they are able to develop and retain the right skills sets for their workforce?Or is the answer a combination of both? Embracing automation is a given, but it would be foolish toassume that automation will be the panacea to all the ‘people issues’ present in the mining industry.How can the industry growth projects be achieved with a dearth of adequately trained competentpeople? How can mining companies bring in large numbers of unskilled and inexperienced peopleand ensure their safety and competence? How can the mining industry improve productivitywithout impacting negatively on safety? These are just a few of the questions facing the industry,which needs to find resolution in 21st century training solutions.The automation dimensionAccording to the Mining Industry Skills Centre Inc (2010), the resources industry is ‘on an inescapableand unstoppable march towards automation’. Given this emerging trend, there is a significantamount of research devoted to the concept of developing automation equipment for use withinmine sites. Such equipment may be remote controlled trucks, more advanced collision avoidancesystems, key hole mining technologies, blast hole drilling rigs, excavators that can differentiateore and waste and potentially even a fully automated mine (Robins, 2012; Lilly, 2009). The MiningIndustry Skills Centre Inc (2010) defines automation as the ‘intelligent management of a system usingappropriate technology so that its operation can occur without human involvement’. The report alsodescribes the emerging role of the ‘automation technician’. Assuming 50 per cent of all 500 resourceindustry-related sites Australia wide (which include a combination of mines, processing plants andports) move toward automation, it is predicted that 1500 ‘automation technicians’ will be requiredacross mine sites in Australia within the next ten years. Given this ‘unstoppable march towardsautomation’, this number will most definitely increase as automation technology further advances. The remoteness and extreme conditions experienced in mining areas is often a contributingfactor to the mining industry’s ability to attract and retain workers. However, with the continuedimplementation of automation, mining companies will be placing more emphasis on recruitingroles designed for controlling machinery from kilometres away, as highlighted by the Rio TintoOperations Centre in Perth. This office, located up to 1300 km from the Pilbara region, is the primarycontrol centre for Rio Tinto’s vast network of rail systems, port operations, infrastructure and mines(Spooner, 2012). As this trend continues, companies may no longer have to search for employees to drive dumptrucks for 12-hour shifts in remote locations, or work underground in dirty conditions on a continuousminer. Instead companies will be looking for people who are information technology (IT) qualified,who can quickly navigate between four computer screens at once, or who can manipulate a joystickwith the ease of a teenager on a PlayStation. All of a sudden the strategy to attract skilled personnelinto the industry changes. Generation Y candidates who can put their technological prowess to gooduse and continue enjoying their inner city lifestyles will apply. The spiralling salaries that we arewitnessing now, because of the difficulties the industry has in attracting and keeping experiencedworkers, may well be pulled back into line with other industries. In the future mines will need to expand on the surface and deeper underground in order to accessore deposits in deeper, and increasingly complex, environments. As a result, mining is continuallyINTERNATIONAL MINE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE / MELBOURNE, VIC, 20 - 21 NOVEMBER 2012 2
  3. 3. IMPROVING SAFETY AND MINE PRODUCTIVITY USING REAL-TIME VIDEO TECHNOLOGYdriven by the need to increase personnel safety, improve productivity and secure environmentalsustainability (Reid et al, 2010). This paper acknowledges the industry’s inevitable move toward greater automation. It is unclearwhat proportion of a workforce may in fact be replaced by automation and it is not the intention ofthis paper to debate the displacement of mine workers by machines operated remotely by a greatlyreduced, but potentially more specialised, workforce. The relevance of automation to this discussionis that mining leaders seek ways to enable processes to be replicated consistently with reducederror. By replacing numbers of people involved in a process with a machine, human error can besignificantly reduced. RTV provides a methodology to enable processes to be replicated consistentlywith reduced error, without replacing people with machines. All mines cite at least one highly proficient employee, a person who can demonstrate a skill overand over again to the same consistently high standard. Describing why this person is so proficientis difficult, almost impossible. If this can be done, then replicating this degree of proficiency in otheremployees is made possible. RTV is a process which helps upskill employees to a similar, and consistent, level of performanceexcellence and delivers many of the key advantages that automation brings. The most effective wayto improve a skill is to capture video footage of a person undertaking that skill, and then provideimmediate feedback on what he/she is doing well and how performance can be improved. Thecombination of visual, auditory, text and statistical information at the one time, is the fastest wayto train a learner, and to up-skill those who are already competent. The RTV concept is also basedon the premise that the most effective learning is undertaken in the same context in which the taskwill be completed, that is, in the workplace. The knock-on effect is obvious – safety is improved,productivity is increased and cost efficiencies are obtained.LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENTThe report produced by the Mining Industry Skills Centre Inc (2010) clearly illustrates the importanceof learning and development in the context of engaging and retaining employees. The aim of using engagement initiatives associated with training is to create: ... the right set of work and employment conditions so that talented people are encouraged to stay, develop their ability and perform at high levels ... The engagement drivers relating to training include: learning and development – professional development and training leadership – senior leadership support and direct supervisor quality reward and recognition – performance management, career opportunities, promotion and remuneration job design – meaningfulness of work work environment – communication and feedback, the quality of co-workers, safety and risk management. In relation to learning and development, it was noted that consistency and quality in the way theleadership team implements, develops, coaches, mentors and reviews output are critical strategies.Technology and changes to learning methodsHuman memory systems have limitations, and it is almost impossible to remember accuratelythe meaningful events that take place over time, even for the most experienced personnel. As anexample, a study of international level soccer coaches by Franks (2008) found that they could onlyrecollect 30 per cent of the key factors that determined successful soccer performance. Further, theywere less than 45 per cent correct in the post-game assessment of what occurred during a game.Committing data to memory and then retrieving it at a later time is a complex process with manyopportunities for interference. As a result there is a need to use modern technology methods to assistwith the learning and recall process. Exposure to visually stimulating learning materials, demonstration of techniques, hands-on-experiences and virtual reality training all provide a faster and more effective means of acquiring,maintaining and enhancing knowledge and skills.INTERNATIONAL MINE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE / MELBOURNE, VIC, 20 - 21 NOVEMBER 2012 3
  4. 4. J WESTH, L GALLAGHER AND S RASHLEIGH Generations X, Y and Z expect stimulating training environments in order to be engaged in thelearning process. They no longer wish to be passive learners. Advances in learning techniques thathave been shown to assist with this process of engagement and inclusion include: the use of technological aids (eg smartboards, multi-media devices, interactive gaming experiences and applications for laptops/phones etc) the creation of interactive learning environments (eg virtual reality, scenario and role modelling activities) involving the learner in the information gathering and feedback process (eg RTV analysis, online information sharing experiences).Real-time video analysisOne of the key elements of training for high performance is the provision of real-time feedback andcoaching to increase the speed at which skills are acquired and enhancement of skills and processesover time. RTV analysis techniques allow trainers to embrace the innovations technology provides. Thisovercomes the serious limitations of traditional training techniques by using RTV feedback andsoftware analysis programs that include the following functions: video of the skill or process – analysis possible in real-time or post-activity audio of responses and noises in the environment real-time skill analysis conducted by the expert trainer graphs and statistics – speed, reaction time, timing, angles etc real-time feedback – trainer/coach working with person undertaking the skills reporting on key performance indicators – annotated video benchmarking of skills – allows for comparison for personal development over time, expert operator against developing operators, evaluation of processes for innovation use of video for creating training resources enhancement of recruitment strategies evidence of quality control of training methods for regulatory compliance and audits (Franks, 2008). The performance analysis techniques include the use of the following technology: performance analysis software performance analysis equipment (eg intrinsically safe video cameras and PDAs) dedicated web channel for information sharing biofeedback equipment (eg heart rate monitors). As these techniques become more widely accepted, the industry is beginning to take advantage ofthe direct benefits in productivity that can be gained from such techniques. As an example, a $2 Bautomotive parts manufacturing company improved manufacturing cycle times by up to 40 per centthrough the use of video performance analysis in combination with their Lean systems (Heston, 2010). Ongoing training programs can be developed, and targeted, more effectively with a combinationof standardised training packages and in-house strategies developed from performance analysistechniques. RTV analysis has been used by trainers and elite athletes all over the world for years to extract thefull potential from their bodies, to minimise injuries and to reduce recovery periods. This type oftechnology is currently used by some of the best teams and athletes in the world. In this country,after every NRL or AFL game, teams and coaches will replay video recordings of the game to learn,and constantly improve on, individual and team performances. RTV analysis utilises video technology in order to detect and determine strengths and weaknesses inthe production cycle. The video software is then manipulated to compare an individual’s successiveperformances, performances between team members, or high performers with lower performers.Trainers use the analysis to determine the most efficient, and productive, ways to carry out a task. The relevance, and applications, within the mining industry are enormous. Many scenarios canbe analysed from something simple such as the distance from which dump trucks queue from anINTERNATIONAL MINE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE / MELBOURNE, VIC, 20 - 21 NOVEMBER 2012 4
  5. 5. IMPROVING SAFETY AND MINE PRODUCTIVITY USING REAL-TIME VIDEO TECHNOLOGYexcavator, to more complex issues such as the optimum angle and most efficient route that theexcavator’s bucket will travel to load the dump truck. The analysis will quickly highlight inefficienciesand point to required changes. The video analysis can be used in educating the operators, whichmay result in improved safety, enhanced productivity and cost efficiencies. The knock-on effect isto increase the mine’s overall productivity and profitability, with no corresponding increase in theworkforce and/or capital equipment.Why real-time video worksThe University of Leicester (2010) explains that: Feedback should be the means by which learners – with the assistance of experts and peers, and through their own reflection – forge a deeper understanding of the knowledge and skills associated with a subject discipline. This is precisely what RTV analysis facilitates. The use of video delivers undisputable evidence ofperformance, along with the ability to compare and/or benchmark operator performance. It allowsthe trainer assessor to have a rich, positive and constructive conversation about what’s working andwhere improvements can be made. This greatly increases the learnings from a feedback session. According to Steve Draper from the University of Glasgow (Draper, 2007), good feedback: helps clarify what good performance is (goals, criteria, expected standards) facilitates the development of self-assessment (reflection) in learning delivers high-quality information to students about their learning encourages teacher and peer dialogue around learning encourages positive motivational beliefs and self-esteem provides opportunities to close the gap between current, and desired, performance provides information to teachers that can be used to help shape the teaching. RTV analysis facilitates all of these. Furthermore, Hofmann and Otto (2008) explain that videofeedback can be an effective way of correcting a distorted self-perception. The effect can be furtherenhanced by asking people to describe how they performed, prior to viewing their videoedperformance. In other words, operators, whose view of their performance is under or overestimated,can be critiqued and trained in a non-threatening manner and learning can occur in a positiveenvironment. A 2012 field study by Confiance shows that this approach works, and works extremelywell. Details of the study will be discussed later in this paper. The following sections discuss the mine-critical issues of safety and productivity and how RTVanalysis can positively impact these issues.SAFETYAccording to the Notified Fatalities Statistical Report (Safe Work Australia, 2012), there were 138notified work-related fatalities between 1 July 2010 and 30 June 2011. Agriculture, forestry andfishing industry workplaces recorded 33 notified worker fatalities, the highest of all industries whenassessed on the basis of workplace. Other industry workplaces with relatively high numbers ofworker fatalities were construction (27 fatalities); manufacturing (22 fatalities); transport and storage(ten fatalities); and mining (nine fatalities). Just over one-quarter (28 per cent) of all notified worker fatalities involved workers in the occupationgroup called intermediate production and transport workers (34 fatalities). Tradespersons and relatedworkers accounted for one-quarter (30 fatalities) and labourers and related workers 18 per cent (21fatalities). Farmers and farm managers alone accounted for 17 per cent (20 fatalities) of all notifiedworker fatalities. The mining industry recorded nine fatalities; however, since the industry has a relatively smallwork force, the industry recorded the second highest fatality rate of 3.9/100 000 workers, as shownin Figure 1. Over the past four years the most common causes of fatality in the mining industry were: vehicle accidents accounted for 28 per cent of fatalities falls from heights accounted for 17 per cent of fatalities.INTERNATIONAL MINE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE / MELBOURNE, VIC, 20 - 21 NOVEMBER 2012 5
  6. 6. J WESTH, L GALLAGHER AND S RASHLEIGH Worker fatality rate by industry 14 12 per 100,000 workers 10 Fatalities as 8 6 4 2 0 2003- 2004- 2005- 2006- 2007- 2008- 2009- 2010- 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Agriculture, forestry & fishing 10.2 9.6 8.8 6.7 7.5 12 6.9 8.6 Mining 8.3 5.7 7.7 8.8 4.1 8.3 3.5 3.9 Construction 4 2.3 3.5 3.4 3.4 2.9 2.8 2.8 Transport & storage 1.9 3.1 3 4.9 4.4 4 2.7 2.5 Manufacturing 0.8 0.7 1.9 1.7 1.3 1 1.4 1.7 Agriculture, forestry & fishing Mining Construction Transport & storage ManufacturingFIG 1 - Worker fatality rate a by selected industry of employer, 2003/2004 to 2010/2011 (Safe Work Australia, 2012). Note: calculated using annual averagesof the number of employed people in each quarter (ABS Data Cube STE06Aug94). The number of employed people for the years 2008 - 2009 and 2010 - 2011 are concorded to ANZSIC1993 industry categories.Serious claimsIn 2009 - 2010, the mining industry accounted for two per cent of all serious workers’ compensationclaims (2557 claims). This equates to seven employees each day requiring one or more weeks offwork because of work-related injury or disease. The incidence rate of serious claims in the mining industry has fallen 47 per cent, from 30 claimsper 1000 employees in 2000 - 2001, to 16 in 2008 - 2009 (see Figure 2); still higher than the rate for allindustries in 2008 - 2009. The most common causes of compensated injury and disease in the mining industry in 2009 - 2010were: muscular stress (due to manual handling or repetitive movement) – 36 per cent of claims falls, trips and slips of a person – 20 per cent of claims being hit by moving objects – 17 per cent of claims. Incidence of serious compensated claims 50 45 Claims per 1000 employees 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 2009- 2000-1 2001-2 2002-3 2003-4 2004-5 2005-6 2006-7 2007-8 2008-9 10 All Industries 17.5 16.9 16.5 16.4 16 14.9 14.3 14 13.5 12.6 Mining 29.8 30.6 27.5 26.5 25 20.4 20.9 19.7 15.9 15 All Industries Mining FIG 2 - Incidence rate of serious compensated claims (Safe Work Australia, 2012).INTERNATIONAL MINE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE / MELBOURNE, VIC, 20 - 21 NOVEMBER 2012 6
  7. 7. IMPROVING SAFETY AND MINE PRODUCTIVITY USING REAL-TIME VIDEO TECHNOLOGY In the mining sector safety measures have increased, safety legislation has toughened andcompliance with legislation has been mandated and is now closely monitored. Safety behaviourshave improved and education and focus on safety have become paramount for all mining industryleaders. Safety has risen in everyone’s consciousness. Safe work procedures (SWPs) and standardoperating procedures (SOPs) at any mine site are important documents that must be read, understoodand rigidly adhered to. Mining companies looking at automation refer to the benefits automation will bring from a safetyperspective. Removing people from hazardous workplaces and replacing them with remotelycontrolled equipment will allow the industry to continue the downward trend in serious incidentsand fatalities; however, automation isn’t the only answer. At the Flight International Crew Management Conference in London in early December 2009(Learmont, 2010), delegates debated whether deterioration in pilot performance was a symptom ofthe long-term effects of flight crews operating highly automated aircraft. Loss of control has beenproportionately increasing as a serious accident cause. Translate this experience to a mine site. Whatare the consequences of an operator losing control of a vehicle being operated remotely? Seriousaccidents, involving millions of dollars of equipment, serious impact on productivity and possibleinjury to other personnel on site. There are no guarantees of ‘zero harm’ being realised, no matter whatthe investment in sophisticated technology. Human error will still be evident. The need to continuallysearch for ways to reduce potential human error remains, regardless of the level of automation. Although it has been acknowledged by industry that training needs to meet the demands of thetask, there has been a distinct lack of focus on analysis of the real demands of the tasks and structuringthe training accordingly. Human error will always be a major risk to any mining operation, but inmany instances the training and processes are not aligned with the task demands, or do not cater foradaptability to changing task demands (Simpson, Horberry and Joy, 2009). A review of fatality and injury patterns in mining in Australia, conducted by the Minerals IndustrySafety and Health Centre, found that human error is generally unintentional, but companies should bestrengthening operator skills to cope with non-normal operations such as changes to environmentalconditions, changes to the mine as production progresses and responding proactively at times whenan event is approaching loss of control (Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre, 2005). With the growing problem of skill shortages, initial training programs implemented by miningorganisations should incorporate training that enhances the capacity of an individual to deal withthe specific aspects of the task, including adaptability and recovery. The following provides somefurther details as to the arguments for such a decision. Many of the problems associated with repetitive, physically or mentally demanding work occurbecause of the mismatch between an individual’s physical and mental health state and the demandsof the task. It also includes poor design and processes, failure to provide training that focuses onexpert skill execution and failure to revisit and maintain core skills in an expertly competent manner. Upon commencement of duties, each role can be audited on a regular basis to ensure that eachperson undertaking the role is maintaining expertly competent skills and the physical and mentalcapacity to meet the task (incorporated into the probationary review). More and more organisations are using software and hardware technologies to shorten trainingtimes, improve training effectiveness and to reduce the cost of education.Real-time video analysis and safetyNexteer Automotive is a US-based automotive supplier whose success is based on continuousimprovement in the areas of quality, safety and productivity. One of the directors of the firmintroduced RTV analysis to assist. He discovered that the technology has a solid reputation in thesports community; in fact, 95 per cent of medals won by the United States during the VancouverOlympics were won by athletes and teams who trained with performance analysis software (Heston,2010). Nexteer Automotive experienced some safety issues when it came to one metal cutting operation.Some workers received lacerations after pulling a razor-sharp chip off the tool. Of course, workerswere told to use caution and wear personal protective equipment where applicable, but safetymanagers wanted to prevent the hazard from occurring in the first place. Nexteer videotaped theoperation and analysed the video using the RTV process.INTERNATIONAL MINE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE / MELBOURNE, VIC, 20 - 21 NOVEMBER 2012 7
  8. 8. J WESTH, L GALLAGHER AND S RASHLEIGH We could slow the video down to the point where we actually could see that chip forming at the end of the tool. We were able to match up that data with the machine G code. We put in a few hesitations, changing the feeds and speeds, and we ended up dropping the [cutting tool] rake angle a little bit. This formed the chip differently, which prevented the hazard. The result was we went from multiple lacerations during a time period – to zero (Heston, 2010). The senior site executive of a coal mine has responsibility for the development of SOPs for managing,and controlling, hazards at the mine. SOPs are critical mine site documents, which stipulate agreedprocedures. These documents can be numerous and are frequently wordy and usually paper-based.Rigorous induction and subsequent training and refresher training around SOPs are critical atany mine. Compliance to SOPs is vital. Digesting and understanding the contents of SOPs can bearduous. Most people retain learning better visually, yet many of these SOPs, which help shape thesafety performance of the mine, rely on the transfer of information by text. RTV analysis can be used to develop multimedia SOPs. Video-based learning delivers greaterretention of learned knowledge when compared to both spoken words, as in a lecture, or writtenwords, as in a book or pamphlet. In their paper: A cognitive theory of multimedia learning:Implications for design principles, Mayer and Moreno (1998) state that the ‘multimedia principle’ isthat ‘people learn more deeply from words and pictures than from words alone’. According to Mayer and Moreno (1998), separate channels of working memory are utilised toprocess auditory and visual information. RTV depictions of SOPs utilise multimedia technologyto draw on dual-coding theory (Paivio, 1986). This allows the learner to employ more cognitiveprocessing capability to study the material than by using material that combines printed (visual) textwith visual graphical information. Studies into Paivio’s dual-coding theory clearly show that learnersperform significantly better when applying what they had learned after receiving instructions viamultimedia channels rather than mono-media (visual only) instructions. RTV multimedia SOPsprovide the learner with a reference library of multimedia clips that can replace wordy paper-basedSOPs or SWPs. Employees are able to use these clips as references, templates and guidelines ininduction, training or retraining processes. Fast-tracking the learning process is critical for all operations. Learning style differences should beconsidered in the development of any training program. Research has demonstrated that despite aperson’s intellectual capacity, if new information about a skill is presented to an employee in theirpreferred learning style, then reinforced using the remaining preferences, this will enhance learningand increase motivation (Farrow, Hall and Diment, 2011). Additionally RTV SOPs: Show demonstrations – RTV SOPs demonstrate how a particular process occurs. Rather than the trainee having to read or hear about it, they get to see what happens. This is really important for procedures that are difficult to show in a training room environment. Are quick – RTV multimedia videos will explain information in about half the time as words alone. Using visuals helps people instantly understand information and results in less confusion. Provides consistency – a multimedia SOP is not open to interpretation – it can be shared across multiple mine sites to ensure consistency of application. Video-based SOPs and training material can be created specifically for any organisation, usingfootage and scenarios from a company’s own workplace or performance situation (see Figure 3).PRODUCTIVITYProductivity is one of the primary objectives for the implementation of more sophisticated automationwithin the mining industry. To equalise the performance of each and every truck, without thereliance on the individual capability of each operator, is a great objective. To ensure the excavator’sbucket and dump truck trays are filled to optimum capacity, maximising productivity in each andevery circuit is incredibly appealing to the industry. A significant advantage of automation is that it provides a consistency in the execution of a skill,a standard procedure, replicated over and over again, with relatively low variation. Potentiallycompanies will be able to have machinery operated in the most effective, and productive, mannerfor every operation. This may be as simple as a dump truck driving on the most efficient pathtowards an excavator, or to a more advanced process such as the calculation of the optimal depthand gradient for an underground longwall shearer to dig into the coal face.INTERNATIONAL MINE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE / MELBOURNE, VIC, 20 - 21 NOVEMBER 2012 8
  9. 9. IMPROVING SAFETY AND MINE PRODUCTIVITY USING REAL-TIME VIDEO TECHNOLOGY A complete analysis saved as a Multimedia SOP …which can be printed as a report Instant ‘snapshots’ of screen display Share video files by Enhanced CD or Web Platform with additional notes and customisation Print or save Key Position Pictures FIG 3 - Multimedia standard operating procedures. Fisher and Schnittger (2012) report that: … remote controlled and automated equipment operates in a more predictable, controlled and precise manner. This eliminates a range of inefficiencies … By 2015 Rio Tinto will have 150 automated trucks in their fleet - that will be approximately 15 per centof the total fleet in that year. For the world leader in this technology, this means that 85 per cent oftheir operations will still use humans to operate haul trucks. Understanding the specific impacton productivity using more and more sophisticated technologies is still to be determined. Whatisn’t in dispute is that more sophisticated technologies require more training, which is itself moresophisticated. It will be many years, maybe decades, before autonomous mine sites are industry standard.Even so, it is hard to predict from this far out whether automation will be suitable in every miningoperation. Automation will inevitably reduce operator numbers, but it is not clear at this stage bywhat percentage. Operator numbers will decrease, but automation technician numbers in centralservice centre locations will increase. Automated equipment will still require maintenance, therefore,INTERNATIONAL MINE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE / MELBOURNE, VIC, 20 - 21 NOVEMBER 2012 9
  10. 10. J WESTH, L GALLAGHER AND S RASHLEIGHmaintenance personnel will still be needed. It is unlikely they will need the same skills as currentmaintenance personnel, but even this is difficult to predict. The installation of automated machinery can bring with it an array of complications. Therequirements of every mine will vary to say the least, resulting in a highly customised system tofit each individual operation. Mines are also dynamic in their design and are consistently beingmoved, redesigned, or diverted. Each move creates the need for considerable testing, redeploymentof equipment and reprograming. This testing and investment can severely diminish an operation’sproductivity during these periods, potentially costing the company significant time and resources(Hopewell, 2012). Moreover system failures in an autonomous mine could bring the entire mine to a standstill. Automated take-off and landing systems on airlines – complex computer systems to monitor everysingle part of an aircraft’s operation – have failed to deliver systems that are error free. A problem with the system that collects airlines’ flight plans is causing widespread cancellations and delays across the US ... Passengers were stranded at airports across the country Friday night after a failure in United Airlines’ computer system... United relies on the computer that broke down today for everything needed to dispatch flights, including managing crew scheduling and measuring planes’ weight and balance … Air New Zealand … System failures within the structure of the Flight Operations Division was the originating and decisive origin of this disaster ... NASA has delayed the final launch of space shuttle Endeavour for the third time since its failed take-off attempt last month. Engineers are still trying to fix an electronics problem which scuttled the spacecraft just moments before it was due to blast off from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida (Daily Mail, 2011). The Daily Mail (2011) published that NASA, Airline companies, and aircraft manufacturingcompanies have a long history of experience with automation and have made the investment overmany years and still system failures occur over and over again. Mining companies will be dealingwith the same issues; people will always run mine sites. How many people, and with what skill sets,are the crucial questions facing managers with training responsibilities/portfolios.Real-time video analysis and productivityHuman error and differences in style and competence between one performer and another cannotbe fully eliminated. However, human performance can be significantly enhanced through effectiveskill acquisition. By adopting RTV techniques it is possible to create a valid, and reliable, record of skill executionthat can be viewed and analysed, with the aim of providing performance enhancing coaching andfeedback. RTV analysis incorporates many features to compare and contrast operators with themselves, orwith other operators and/or trainers. Video overlay enables the video image of one operator to bedirectly compared to the video of another operator or trainer. This enables the operator to see exactlywhat he/she is doing, compared to a benchmark (eg a trainer). Let’s take an example of spot times using RTV analysis. For the purpose of this example thedefinition of spot times is as follows: Truck A: truck currently under the excavator being loaded. Truck B: next truck staging/queuing for the excavator waits for truck A to be loaded.(Therefore, no rolling starts for this example). Spot-time: when truck A commences motion from under the excavator after being signalled to exit, to when truck B that was queuing is stationary under the excavator. (The spot time includes reaction time (RT), which is the time taken for Truck B to react to the Truck A motion from the excavator). So, if an operator has consistent spot-times of say 55 seconds and the trainer has a consistentspot-time of 35 seconds, the RTV analysis and subsequent coaching aims to reduce the operator’sspot-times from 55 seconds, down to as close as possible to the optimum spot-times demonstratedby the trainer. In order to do this, both the trainer and operator are video-taped using the RTVsoftware. This video is then analysed and annotated to determine where the differences betweenINTERNATIONAL MINE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE / MELBOURNE, VIC, 20 - 21 NOVEMBER 2012 10
  11. 11. IMPROVING SAFETY AND MINE PRODUCTIVITY USING REAL-TIME VIDEO TECHNOLOGYthe performance of both the operator and the trainer lie. The analysed annotated video is then usedin a coaching session with the operator so that he/she can now see their queuing distance, reactiontime, route taken and reversing time in comparison to the trainer. This overlay enables the operatorto realise what he/she is doing well and not so well. Figures 4 and 5 demonstrate some features of RTV analysis, particularly how the reduction ofqueuing distance can impact spot-times and productivity. The video is analysed and annotated and then presented to the operator in a training session. Thesplit screen feature, using examples of the operator performances contrasted to those of the trainer,is very effective in identifying where changes are required. Figure 5 shows the queuing distance of the same operator, pre- and post-training. By queuingcloser to the previous truck, the operator is able to follow the previous truck out to improve theiralignment under the excavator, allowing the operator to reverse into position more quickly andreduce the overall spot time. By queuing closer to the previous truck, travel distance is reduced, asis travel time. The cumulative effect to productivity, if this reduction is replicated for every circuit,can be huge. Figure 6 shows another feature of the RTV software, called a tracking tool. This can be used on anymoving object on the video; no physical markers are needed on the equipment. Again this can beused in training scenarios to improve operator performance eg by reducing swing times. FIG 4 - Comparison of an operator’s two performances pretraining and post-training. FIG 5 - Example of an operator’s queuing/staging distance before, and after, real-time video training.INTERNATIONAL MINE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE / MELBOURNE, VIC, 20 - 21 NOVEMBER 2012 11
  12. 12. J WESTH, L GALLAGHER AND S RASHLEIGH FIG 6 - Example of use of the tracking tool on an excavator.Real-time video analysis field studyThe most recent field study targeting spot-times was conducted on a central Queensland coal mine.The results have shown that operators can improve their spot-times significantly after feedback andtraining, using RTV analysis and coaching. The objective of the study was to target a variety of truckoperators to see if their average spot times could be reduced significantly. Variables considered were: operator experience (variety of experience levels) age (using various aged operators) environment (double benching) weather (clear and sunny) truck type and size all operators on same circuit training sessions were delivered by the same trainer. The study was conducted in three parts.1. pretraining capture video footage of operators individual data analysis for each operator develop training sessions2. training run individual training sessions with each operator (one hour duration)3. post-training capture video footage of operators analyse footage compare time one with time two. It should be noted that as part of the agreement between the mining company and Confiance (theRTV analysis service provider), the footage collected may not be used in the performance reviews ofany of the operators. At the end of field study all trainers, managers and operators were extremelypositive about the experience and volunteered to be part of any further programs that involved RTVanalysis. The field study results, shown in Figure 7, were better than anticipated. Outstanding results, asdepicted in the chart below, were obtained. The red line at the top of the chart depicts the average spot-time for the group before the one-hourtraining was conducted. The red line toward the middle of the chart depicts the average spot-timefor the group subsequent to the one-hour training. Each set of two bars represent one operator. The blue bars show the operator’s average spot-timemeasured pretraining, where the red bars show the operator’s average spot-time post-training.Therefore, the graph shows a 22.56 second reduction (37.6 per cent) in average spot-times across thegroup.INTERNATIONAL MINE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE / MELBOURNE, VIC, 20 - 21 NOVEMBER 2012 12
  13. 13. IMPROVING SAFETY AND MINE PRODUCTIVITY USING REAL-TIME VIDEO TECHNOLOGY Spot Time Averages: Pre-training vs post-training 70 63.79 61.1 59.15 58.32 Pre-training 60 average spot 52.96 time 50 Seconds 39.36 38.21 35.07 Post-training 40 36.43 33.38 32.15 average spot time 30 27.24 20 10 0 Pre Training 1 2 3 4 5 Control Group Post Training FIG 7 - Results pre- and post-training for five operators, contrasted with a trainer (control) showing average spot times. Additionally, all operators moved significantly closer to the trainer’s (control) average spot-time.No dangerous operations were witnessed in the course of this study.CONCLUSIONAutomation technology is clearly a big part of the future of the mining industry. The time frame,the scope and the impact of automation on the people and skill requirements are uncertain. RioTinto – arguably the leader in technology such as fully automated haul trucks – is still conductingextensive research into this type of technology (Duffy, 2012). There are reasons, other than safetyand productivity gains, for investing in automation. Being seen as the pioneer and the world leaderbrings considerable benefits for Rio Tinto as an organisation, not the least of which include theirattractiveness as an employer (both from an attraction and a retention point of view). The journey is a long one and with escalating production costs and increasing labour shortagesmining companies need to be considering a range of alternatives. So what can mining companiesdo in the short- to medium-term, and potentially long term, to enhance safety and improveproductivity? One simple, yet effective, way this can be achieved is through the use of RTV analysisand coaching. The cost of labour turnover to mining companies is massive. These training strategieswill not only enhance the safe and productive performance of personnel, but will certainly add tothe attractiveness of the employer, thereby reducing turnover. RTV technology and training enables users to benefit from the following outcomes: a video-based safety management system, with annotated video at points of task for easy and fast reminders of safe work procedures increased productivity and safety outcomes due to more effective skill execution reduced costs associated with the learning phase of a trainee (eg become more productive quicker, less accidents/incidents) reduction in accident/incidents when used in conjunction with effective coaching techniques reduction in costs associated with poor skill execution, errors and accidents enhances the trainer’s/leader’s capacity to provide effective feedback to their trainees/team members removes conflict over errors because the person is able to see the error rather than relying on just being told about their mistake provides an auditable record of training company, and site-specific, learning and training resources capacity to up-date learning and training resources at any time when organisational needs change increased capacity to develop innovations in skills and practises in order to improve productivity and safety culture of collaboration within teams and between teams/sites uniformity of operating procedures within one site and across multiple sitesINTERNATIONAL MINE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE / MELBOURNE, VIC, 20 - 21 NOVEMBER 2012 13
  14. 14. J WESTH, L GALLAGHER AND S RASHLEIGH enhance the skills of employees, thereby enhancing the company’s reputation as an employer committed to attracting, and retaining, good people. Using RTV technology, athletes and coaches have eked out performance improvements from manyof the world’s best performers for many years. Coaches can watch a diver’s angle into a swimmingpool, or a golfer’s range of motion when swinging a golf club, or any other physical motion, andfind areas for improvement. Considering that 80 per cent of learning is visually-based, it is obvioushow video analysis can help. Watching yourself perform a task that you have performed over andover again flawlessly in your own mind can lead to an epiphany. Mining companies should embracethis simple, but powerful, tool to achieve greater insight into their operations and staggeringimprovements in performance.REFERENCESDaily Mail, 2011. NASA delays final endeavour launch for THIRD time as engineers work to fix shuttle’s heating glitch [online]. Available from: < delays-final-Endeavour-launch-THIRD-time-engineers-work-fix-shuttles-heating-glitch.html> [Accessed: 10 March 2012].Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, 2012. Australian jobs 2012 [online]. Available from: < AustralianJobs.pdf> [Accessed: 14 June 2012].Draper, S, 2007. Seven principles of good feedback [online]. Available from: <http://www.psy.gla.> [Accessed: 2 March 2012].Duffy, A, 2012. Unions vs Rio: The automation battle [online], Australian Mining. Available from: <http://> [Accessed: 23 March 2012].Farrow, D, Hall, E and Diment, G, 2011. Maximising skill learning through identification of athlete learning styles [online], Sports Coach Magazine, 27(2). Available from: <> [Accessed: 23 March 2012].Fisher, B and Schnittger, S, 2012. Autonomous and remote operation technologies in the mining industry, BA economics research report, 12.1.Franks, I, 2008. The need for feedback, in The Essentials of Performance Analysis an Introduction (eds: M Hughes and I Franks), pp 1-4 (Routlege: Canada).Fraser, C, 2010. MCA welcomes the Skills Australia report, Minerals Council of Australia, media release 5 March, 2010.Heston, T, 2010. Lights, camera, lean-recording manufacturing efficiency [online], The Fabricator. Available from: < efficiency> [Accessed: 23 March 2012].Hofmann, S and Otto, M, 2008. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder: Evidence-based and Disorder-specific Treatment (Taylor and Francis Group: New York).Hopewell, L, 2012. Robotic mining worth its high cost: Rio [online], ZDNet. Available from: <http://www.> [Accessed: 23 March 2012].Learmont, D, 2010. Global airline accident review of 2009 [online]. Available from: <http://www.flightglobal. com/news/articles/global-airline-accident-review-of-2009-336920> [Accessed: 13 February 2012].Lilly, P, 2009. The next mining boom starts here, CSIRO Earthmatters – CSIRO Exploration and Mining Magazine, 19:Mar/Apr.Mayer, R E and Moreno, R, 1998. A cognitive theory of multimedia learning: Implications for design principles [online]. Available from: <> [Accessed: 10 March 2012].Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre, 2005. Final report to Queensland Resources Council on underlying causes of fatalities and significant injuries in the Australian Mining Industry, Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre, University of Queensland.Mining Industry Skills Centre Inc, 2010. Automation for success, Brisbane.Paivio, A, 1986. Mental Representations: A Dual Coding Approach (Oxford University Press: Oxford).Queensland Government, 2012. Skills and workforce development priorities 2011-12 [online]. Available from: < skills_bodies_list.aspx> [Accessed: 1 March 2012].INTERNATIONAL MINE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE / MELBOURNE, VIC, 20 - 21 NOVEMBER 2012 14
  15. 15. IMPROVING SAFETY AND MINE PRODUCTIVITY USING REAL-TIME VIDEO TECHNOLOGYReid, P B, Dunn, M T, Reid, D C and Ralston, J C, 2010. Real-world automation: New capabilities for underground longwall mining [online], in Proceedings Australasian Conference on Robotics & Automation 2010 (Australian Robotics & Automation Association: Brisbane).Robins, B, 2012. Automation ‘key’ to mining’s future [online], The Sydney Morning Herald. Available from: <> [Accessed: 2 March 2012].Safe Work Australia, 2012. Notified fatalities statistical report 2010-11 [online]. Available from: <http:// Documents/686/AnnualNotifiedFatalitiesReport2010-11.pdf> [Accessed: 16 June 2012].Simpson, G, Horberry, T and Joy, J, 2009. Understanding Human Error in Mine Safety (Ashgate Publishing: United Kingdom).Spooner, R, 2012. Are robots the future of the WA mining industry? [online], WA Today. Available from: < 20120206-1r1nd.html> [Accessed: 2 March 2012].University of Leicester, 2010. Case study 6: Enhancing the experience of feedback [online]. Available from: <> [Accessed: 20 February 2012].INTERNATIONAL MINE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE / MELBOURNE, VIC, 20 - 21 NOVEMBER 2012 15