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Anglo takes home top gong for chilly underground innovation

Severe economic conditions did not dissuade the state’s mining industry from its health and safety commitments, with attendance at last week’s Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference the highest it has been in two years.

More than 580 industry leaders descended on the Gold Coast to experience a hard-hitting and thought-provoking program of keynote speakers, industry presentations and trade displays.

Innovation took centre stage for much of the three-day event, culminating in an awards ceremony that recognised the best emerging practices for eliminating health and safety risks.

An innovation by Anglo American Outbye Superintendent Mark Gleadhill – a portable chilled air device that tackles heat stress in underground mines – picked up both the coveted Innovation Award, as well as the People’s Choice Award.

Anglo American’s winning innovation was one of 10 finalists in the Innovation Awards. First prize includes a trip to America to tour the Mine Safety and Health Administration in Virginia and participate in the Denver-based SME Annual Conference & Expo early next year.

Highly Commended went to Glencore’s Ernest Henry Mine for its long-hole drill rod handler initiative, which tackles both the risk working at height and of acute injury through awkward lifting.

Conference chair Greg Dalliston said the event’s strong turnout embraced the opportunity to share industry knowledge and learn about emerging issues.

“The conference held true to the theme ‘A Past Forgotten is a Future Repeated’ and had a strong reminder of why the conference is held with the numerous papers on past incidents and two sessions and a keynote on Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis,” Mr Dalliston said.

“When it comes to mining health and safety, Queensland is up there with the world’s best, but that is no excuse to simply sit on our hands when it comes to protecting workers.

“The conference provides the vital opportunity for industry to learn from past mistakes and to go back to mine sites armed with new processes that tackle issues head on.

“This year the conference also had a continued emphasis on the health side of the equation, with the Health Program Award also receiving a high calibre of entries.”

The prestigious award went to Yarrabee Coal Company for its multi-disciplinary prevention and management program tackling workforce health risks. A $1,000 donation will be awarded to Yarrabee’s charity of choice.

The judging panel also praised Glencore’s Clermont Open Cut Coal Mine for its positive work in the mental health space, with a Highly Commended recognition. 

Images: Mark Duffus Photography

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