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The impact of automation, critical control management, dust control and aerial observational data will feature on the agenda of an upcoming construction materials safety seminar in New South Wales.
The Institute of Quarrying Australia (IQA) and Cement Concrete & Aggregates Australia (CCAA) have combined to host the Sixth Annual Quarries & Concrete Safety Seminar on Wednesday, 23 October, 2019.
The single-day program, which includes a trade exhibition, will be held at the Rydges Campbelltown, 60km southwest of Sydney, and is expected to attract some 150 attendees. Its theme is ‘Understanding and managing critical risk’, and will comprise 11 sessions hosted by industry figures representing quarrying, machinery manufacturers, regulatory bodies, campaigners and related industries.
“This seminar is really focused at, not just operations and site managers, but also supervisors and others who are the key to being able to practically influence what happens in their operations,” the IQA’s NSW branch chair James Collings said. “It’s an opportunity to hear some really good messages from people within the industry and people outside the industry, with real life, tangible learnings.”
Collings said the IQA, the CCAA and regulators were working towards a common goal. “The vast majority of quarries or quarry businesses are integrated some way into the concrete game. The risks and hazards we experience, while not exactly the same, have commonality; both have a lot of truck movements, people on foot, conveyor belts, product in overhead bins, airborne dust, noise and hazardous energy sources.”
Ironies of automation
The event’s keynote speaker will be Dr Sean Brady, a forensic structural engineer specialising in the identification of causes of defects and failures in construction and engineering. He is currently undertaking a review into mining and quarrying incidents in Queensland.
In his presentation – ‘The Ironies of Automation’ – Brady will examine how the automation of industry systems, whether by computers or robots, can have unexpected, comical or destructive effects on operations.
This will be followed by Sharyn Cobbin, education and training manager for the University of Queensland’s Minerals Industry Safety & Health Centre, who will discuss critical control management in the quarrying sector.
With insufficient risk identification and control management having the potential to cause serious injuries and fatalities, Cobbin’s presentation will outline nine steps to implement a critical control management program into businesses.
Bill Farry, from Groundwork Plus, will host the seminar’s third session, discussing the use of drone technology to collect and process low altitude aerial observational data to provide geotechnical advice to operational sites.
The interactive program will then feature two case studies. The first is with Collings, who is also Boral’s metropolitan operations manager for NSW and ACT. He will discuss the online induction the company adopts for its quarry sites. Rick Moledo, from Hitachi Construction Machinery – a gold sponsor of the event – will then discuss the development of the Hitachi Safety Strategy ‘Towards Zero’ Injuries.
Impacts on mental health
The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and the state’s resources regulator will reinforce their sponsorship of the event, with mines inspector Angus McDouall hosting a presentation on dust safety and controls. NSW regulators will also report on competencies for quarries.
“Silicosis and other dust diseases are a critical risk in our industry and heightening awareness of this and ensuring compliance is key for our regulator. I suspect they will also share their views about what they expect out of competent leaders and how our people can gain and maintain the required competencies, as well as what support the department can provide,” Collings said, noting changes involving practising certificate requirements and tiering systems.
The program also features Scott Tipping, from Hanson, who will host a panel discussion about deaths involving heavy equipment and machinery, and the impact on mental health. Tipping is a passionate proponent of health and safety, having previously raised funding for mental health awareness initiatives and education two years ago, when he travelled from Melbourne to Brisbane by jet ski.
This will be followed by the IQA’s report on professional development and training, before a presentation by Helen Fitzroy, who has campaigned for improved health and safety after the death of her husband in an underground mining incident in 1991.
Jason Kuchel, state director of the CCAA in NSW and South Australia, will deliver the closing address.