How big data and analytics are working to make mining safer

How big data and analytics are working to make mining safer

Improving the health and safety of workers is a critical driver behind the mining industry’s move towards using technology and data collection to enable better decision-making.

“There is an old adage, what you can measure is what you can control. It’s important we are able to see emerging safety trends and technology, such as the Injury Alarm developed by Dr Marcus Cattani, has the potential to help direct our regulatory effort to where it is needed most – to where the hazards are,” said DMIRS Mines Safety Director, Christina Foley.

Developed in consultation with industry, the Injury Alarm website helps organisations recognise risks and prevent dangerous incidents from occurring. The site then determines the risks and gives suggestions on how companies can improve their safety to help prevent deaths and injuries.

“Data can tell us a lot. Part of the Resources Safety Divisions Towards 2020 framework is about systematically analysing the data and finding out what is hidden, which will assist us to improve safety,” continued the DMIRS Mines Safety Director.

Safety data is collected from operators and service providers working in the mining sector via incident reports, hazard register, injury alarm data and the Safety Regulation System, or SRS.

The system is the online platform used by Resources Safety and industry stakeholders to conduct a range of regulatory activities and lodge and manage documents and data. The system continues to be upgraded with the objective of improving safety and health outcomes, as well as supporting digital transactions and increasing efficiency and effectiveness and will in the future include access to health and hygiene information and notification of the election of safety and health representatives.

“The evolution of SRS is an example of how the department is using data to drive decision-making. The resource can turn information around quickly to paint a clear picture of what we are seeing and what the causes of these incidents might be,” said Foley.

The Department is also leveraging the information it collects by using independent experts to help make sense of the data, which recently has included giving departmental data to local universities for research projects.

“Using tertiary institutions like Edith Cowan University, The University of Western Australia and Curtin will help find previously hidden gems of knowledge.

Data collection is part of the Department’s vision of a safe and healthy resources sector, which is supported by three key: world-leading regulation, smarter systems and a well-informed industry.