Canadian Mining Journal

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TRAINING: Coal stockpile operations made safer by Immersive Technologies

AUSTRALIA – In recent years the demand for dozer operators working on coal stockpiles has grown dramatically, increasing the need for specialized training in what is considered one of the most hazardous environments for dozer operators....


AUSTRALIA – In recent years the demand for dozer operators working on coal stockpiles has grown dramatically, increasing the need for specialized training in what is considered one of the most hazardous environments for dozer operators. Committed to making mine sites safer, Immersive Technologies has developed technology to specifically address operator safety in coal stockpiling. This technology is embedded in an upgrade to Immersive Technologies’ leading range of Advanced Equipment Simulators.

The simulation training based technology developed by Immersive Technologies focuses on reducing the operational risk of dozer stockpile operations by:

  • Creating enhanced operator awareness of surroundings
  • Training operators to minimize the risk of falling into a void
  • Assessing competency of dozer operators to comply with and follow safe operating procedures

The new features are developed for the latest version of SimControl, the software at the heart of the PRO3 Advanced Equipment Simulator, ensure that users receive the maximum benefits from simulation training.

Rio Tinto’s Hail Creek mine and Glencore Xstrata were instrumental in the development of this technology. Both companies are major producers of coal and work with Immersive Technologies to ensure simulator technology is effective and accurate for onsite operations.

Glencore Xstrata has recognized value in being able to take operators out of a potentially dangerous training environment (with little ability for trainer interaction) into a realistic hands-on approach where operator errors can occur without sacrificing safety.

This mine, along with many others, only has one stockpile so any type of training halts production. Simulator technology has proved to be advantageous in keeping operations running at full capacity while training operators to be safer and more productive.

Included in the simulation-based training technology is the ability to assess learning decay, bad habits and behaviors that lead to unsafe operations at coal stockpiling sites such as operating too close to objects around stockpiles, incorrect methods of approaching and working around and near coal valves or feeders and operating on unstable ground. Other training tasks include cleaning the hanging wall, pushing out a stockpile bench, reclaiming a stockpile bench and emergency preparedness training.

Glencore Xstrata identified results while conducting emergency preparedness training from staff at different competency levels of stockpile dozing. Understanding the proper process and correct sequence in the case of an emergency is essential as incorrect responses put personal safety and the assets of the business at high risk. Their emergency preparedness training included how to accurately respond to:

  • Engine fires
  • Hydraulic fires
  • Low engine oil pressures
  • High engine coolant temperatures

In addition to new employee training the simulator technology can be used to identify experienced operators in need of refresher training or proficiency training. For those mining operations that need to hit the ground running with this new technology, a training service is also now available from Immersive Technologies to facilitate rapid implementation into existing training programs. This service includes on-site support from an Immersive Technologies training consultant to quickly integrate the new features into existing curriculum.

Learn more at ImmersiveTechnologies.com.