Coal Age

OCT 2015

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i n h e l p i n g t h e w o r k f o r c e a n t i c i p a t e a n d s a f e l y r e s p o n d t o c h a n g e s i n t h e i r e n v i r o n m e n t u p o n o p e r a t i n g a m i n i n g machine that is equipped with proximity detection. Based on these discussions, the following considerations are offered for mine operators and safety personnel to support workers' ability to continue making safe decisions on the job: • Introduce and discuss PDS technology as a learning tool. CMM operators commonly said that mine technologies, including the PDS, helped them to recognize and avoid emerging hazards and learn or relearn about safety rather than change their behaviors. This learning-oriented commu- nication approach to framing the technology, rather than characterizing it as a tool that "does not let an operator stand in the red zone," may encourage a more positive response toward the technology. • Be mindful of potential complacency. Regardless of the technology being used, it is possible for anyone to become complacent and momentarily lose focus while completing a job task. To help maintain worker awareness, communica- tion and safety meetings related to PDSs should not end once the technology is fully integrated. Rather, dialogue should continue beyond initial on-the-job awareness and training to ensure that operators stay alert for potential haz- ards on the job. • Acknowledge changes in the mine environment after intro- ducing the PDS. Realistic dialogue with CMM operators about how the PDS technology is affecting their work environment and ability to make safe, quick decisions may be needed. One barrier referenced by CMM operators after using the PDS was a loss in production time. Perhaps at first use, discussion of a balance between production and safety during the introduc- tion of this safety device should be considered. Despite potential barriers when first introducing a PDS into a mine, operator feedback revealed that if the technology is working properly and individuals receive realistic training and communication about how the technology should function, it can be a useful device to help call attention back to hazards in the mine environment. As one operator said, "In my opinion, I think it can be easy to get distracted, there is so much to watch for, you can always watch for the wrong thing one time." Although no technology is foolproof, providing operators the opportunity to notice and adapt to additional hazards of which they may not be aware of may continue to enhance their aware- ness on the job. Progress in Intelligent Proximity Detection Systems B a s e d o n t h e r e s u l t s o f s e v e r a l f i e l d p e r f o r m a n c e t e s t s , feedback from stakeholders and comments from the CMM operators throughout our interviews, NIOSH researchers have been working on the development of a more advanced version of PDS technology. They have recently created an intelligent p r o x i m i t y d e t e c t i o n s y s t e m ( i P D S ) u s i n g M i n e S a f e t y and Health Administration-approved electromagnetic proximi- ty detection hardware (for more information, see DuCarme et al., 2015). This technology contains efficient software that determines the real-time position of any worker relative to the CMM. The system then intelligently responds with visual signals and disables only machine motion that could cause striking or pinning — thus greatly reducing the frequency of false alarms. By blocking only dangerous machine functions while allowing other motions to continue, the iPDS would be less interruptive to the CMM operator's work. As a result, the incorporation of this technology into commercially available PDSs may lead to greater acceptance by the mining workforce while continuing to maintain the safety of mineworkers. References DuCarme, J.P.; Carr, J.L.; and Jobes, C.C. (2015). Proximity Detection With Selective Machine Shutdown. Print proceedings of 144 th Annual Society for Mining, Metallurgy, & Exploration Conference held in Boulder, Colorado, February 15-18, 2015. (Preprint 15-083). H a a s , E . J . , & R o s t , K . A . ( 2 0 1 5 ) . I n t e g r a t i n g t e c h n o l o g y : Learning from mine worker perceptions of proximity detection systems. Print proceedings of 144 th Annual Society for Mining, M e t a l l u r g y , a n d E x p l o r a t i o n C o n f e r e n c e h e l d i n B o u l d e r , Colorado, February 15-18, 2015. (Preprint 15-083). Emily Haas and Joseph DuCarme are part of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's (NIOSH) Office of Mine Safety and Health Research in Pittsburgh. s a f e t y e q u i p m e n t c o n t i n u e d Seeing Machines, Caterpillar Go Global Australian-based Seeing Machines announced in mid-September it had inked a new global agreement with equipment manufacturer Caterpillar for product development, licensing and distribution. The deal is the final phase of an alliance the two initially made in May 2013. In the new agreement, Cat will take over responsibility for the manufactur- ing, marketing and sales of Seeing Machines' DSS rugged off-road product. Both Seeing Machines and Caterpillar will work together to develop new products, and Caterpillar will market DSS and Seeing Machines Fleet products for in-cab operator fatigue and distraction monitoring solutions in the agreed Caterpillar industries. Caterpillar will also have distribution rights for Seeing Machines Fleet prod- uct, according to the deal's terms, exclusive within agreed Caterpillar indus- tries, as well as non-exclusive outside those industries. The price tag for the deal is $17.5 million; Caterpillar will pay that total over four years as well as royalty fees for DSS hardware, software licensing, moni- toring and analytics services. The OEM will also purchase existing inventory of DSS units from Seeing Machines. Current DSS customer agreements will be transitioned to Caterpillar and supported by the company's dealers. Caterpillar Safety Services will offer addi- tional consulting services, system monitoring and data analysis. "This is a pivotal moment in the history of Seeing Machines; the realization of several years of hard work for both companies," Seeing Machines CEO Ken Kroeger said. "Caterpillar is capable of maximizing the return on the DSS tech- nology; their reputation, reach, capability, and commitment will deliver great outcomes for both companies and for the world's mining and construction related companies." October 2015 35

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