HSE Mining recently conducted a trial of Driver Safety System (DSS) fatigue monitoring on four haul trucks at South Walker Creek Mine.

Fatigue is a significant risk in the mining industry and we are committed to building on efforts made to date and seek further solutions and control strategies.

DSS is based on eye tracking technology that detects if a driver is distracted or falling asleep while operating heavy equipment. Using sensing equipment that is mounted on the dashboard of the truck, it tracks head alignment to detect potential distraction events while also tracking and analysing eye behaviour to detect signs of fatigue, such as excessive eye closure and microsleeps. When the system detects a fatigue or distraction event, it provides immediate feedback to the operator via an audible alarm and seat vibration. When a fatigue event is confirmed, the supervisor is notified to allow them to intervene and manage the operator’s fatigue appropriately.

The 60-day trial was conducted in three phases:

  1. Silent Phase: No alarms or contact from the monitoring centre
  2. Alarms Enabled: In cab alarms activated for fatigue events
  3. Fatigue intervention plan is initiated for all operators who experienced a fatigue event

Fatigue and distraction events occurred at regular intervals throughout phase one, however a comparison of HSE Mining with 10 other mines showed that the average fatigue events per mobile hours was lower than average. This is a good indication that the education programs and operational controls implemented to date are proving to be somewhat effective. Fatigue events were reduced during both phases two and three once full fatigue intervention protocols were implemented. The reduction in verified fatigue events from phase one to the end of phase three was 94 per cent.

The trial highlighted not only that DSS is a valuable tool in detecting and managing fatigue events, but also that implementation would be just one part of HSE Mining’s overall fatigue and distraction strategy.