CSA Mine’s ‘Working in Heat’ policy has been recognised as one of the best health and safety policy’s in mining operations across NSW.
The ‘Working in Heat’ policy has been selected by a panel of judges as a finalist for the NSW Minerals Council 2015 Health, Safety, Environment & Community Awards (HSEC) which aim to highlight success stories from mine sites across the state and share them with the rest of the mining community.
CSA’s health, safety, environment and training manager Tanya Gilbert said the award recognition was “good news” for CSA.
She said with CSA Mine one of the deepest mines in Australia where workers sometimes face temperatures greater than 50 degrees celsius, an effective ‘Working in Heat’ policy was needed.
“While only minor incidents of heat stress have been experienced, environmental conditions and anecdotal reports suggest that heat impacts upon a worker’s ability to undertake their duties safely,” Mrs Gilbert said.
She said that research had found that mild symptoms of headache and nausea may be signs of a newly-termed heat illness, ‘heat hangover’ which could potentially affect a worker’s cognitive and physical abilities.
During her research of the project Mrs Gilbert consulted ‘The Heat Guy’, Dr Matt Brearley, who has a PhD in thermal physiology (how humans respond to heat).
Dr Brearley has done extensive work with individual athletes, sporting teams, occupational groups, emergency responders and defence personnel in hot tropical field conditions.
Mrs Gilbert said education, physiological and perceptual monitoring and the introduction of novel evidence based strategies enabled them to mitigate the risk of heat stress at the mine.
As part of the project blenders and ice shavers were installed next to existing ice machines in crib rooms to provide workers with the opportunity to periodically lower core body temperature through the ingestion of crushed ice.
“This method has been significantly proven to alleviate heat stress, and its use in occupational settings is extremely novel,” Mrs Gilbert reported.