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Safety and Sustainability Projects

Fatigue Monitoring System

Debswana has embarked on a Fatigue Monitoring System to reduce high-potential incidents and accidents, particularly involving heavy earth-moving vehicles like haul trucks.

Fatigue, resulting in loss of concentration or alertness, or even falling asleep behind the wheel, is one of the main causes of equipment damage, production loss, injuries and loss of life on mines throughout the world.

It is particularly evident in round-the-clock operations, where a code of practice involves a range of interventions including education, alert checking, the monitoring of shift patterns and encouraging colleagues to look out for one another.

Debswana's fatigue monitoring system aims to progressively reduce earth-moving vehicle accidents by aligning to Zero Harm aspirations, increase operations and equipment performance, improve the wellness of employees, and achieve holistic fatigue-management programme targets.

 

Personnel and Proximity Detection Systems

Although mining can be a potentially hazardous environment, Debswana has always been at the forefront of embracing new technology and systems to secure a safer working environment for its employees.

A recently launched project embraces the latest in personnel and proximity-detection systems technology to ensure safer interactions between personnel, equipment and light vehicles.

Collision-avoidance systems are already in place throughout our operations, and the project seeks to broaden their scope through sophisticated technology that can proactively identify personnel that could potentially be exposed to safety risks and raise an alarm to enable a quick preventative response, by knowing their location in real time.

Other benefits aligned to safety and security will include identification and demarcation of unsafe and or restricted areas through utilisation of geofencing technology. Alerts will be generated when those areas are accessed by unauthorised personnel thereby aligning with other existing safety precautions linked to blasting management practices as well as management of restricted areas.

 

Occupational and Environmental Exposures Monitoring System

The occupational health and safety of employees together with the environmental stewardship of its operations, has always been considered a priority at Debswana.

Management systems currently in place go beyond legal compliance and extend to sophisticated measuring equipment. As a result, trained individuals are able to monitor their colleagues working in often difficult environments on the mine and even individuals living in communities close to the operations.

Apart from the obvious safety benefits, occupational health and safety makes good business sense by protecting the company's reputation and its assets for the long-term sustainability of its operations.

Despite rigorous planning by occupational and safety teams to monitor hazards like dust, vibration and noise in various areas of the operation, data recovered and analysed is by its very nature, seen as retrospective.

This inability to generate a holistic picture of potentially dangerous situations in real time limits one's ability to proactively manage risks before they become accidents.

New technology currently being tested on Debswana operations, however, is expected to take occupational and safety monitoring to new levels and make a noticeable impact on effective mine planning and the safety and health of its employees and the surrounding communities.

High tech instrumentation, strategically placed in key locations, together with traditional testing monitors, will effectively give management real time performance/exposure appreciation.

The next phase of data monitoring on the horizon will take data monitoring to even greater heights. With the help of artificial intelligence, multiple data inputs will be able to talk to one another to identify potential accident scenarios before they even happen.

In a possible scenario, dust monitoring in the pit combined with haul pack data, might suggest, for example, poor visibility on a specific day. In this case, an early warning signal would trigger a mine controller to caution the driver to slow down to avoid a potential accident.

Real-time occupational and environmental exposures monitoring is embracing new science and is expected to become a potent tool in in the future of mine safety.