AMSJ » Removing workers out of ‘harm’s way’ improves safety says automation boss
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Removing workers out of ‘harm’s way’ improves safety says automation boss

Komatsu remote operator
File photo of a remote operator

Limiting the number of human operators reduces workplace incidents, an autonomous leader found.

Komatsu Australia wants every mine site to upgrade machinery to driverless and remote technology, because it significantly decreases the number of injuries and fatalities.

“The industry as a whole has been a driver for the development of remote operation technology. Removing people from hazards is the simplest way to keep people safe,” Komatsu Mining control and automation business manager Jason Gough said according to Prime Creative Media.

Gough claims his employer gives resources companies the power to operate all moving parts from a single console. This is promised to dramatically improve workplace safety.

“Previously, the base requirement for work to be done was that you had to have someone at the coalface doing the work due to the technological capabilities of the time – that is not true anymore. We have been able to engineer safe and efficient methods of operating our mining equipment remotely,” he said according to the publication.

The company connects remotely operated Joy longwall machines to shearers, roof supports and armoured face conveyors. This allows both onsite and offsite workers to monitor them.

Automation trainer and assessor Shane Cooling claims the technology also lets proponents define exclusion zones and detect an operator’s close proximity. This lets management decide how often humans should come in direct contact with equipment.

“There is always the potential for human machine interaction with the remote-operated longwall from people who are still on and around the operating face, which was a concern that has – and will always be – raised when it comes to remote operations,” he said.

“People are not losing their jobs to remote operations as those same people are still operating those machines, just from a safe location.”

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