Boggabri’s Healthy Lifestyle Program
October 29, 2015
Back in 2009, Downer Mining’s Boggabri open cut coal mine kicked off a progressive health management program to promote the importance of a healthy lifestyle to its workforce. The mine recognised that poor health is a safety risk amongst the miners as long hours, shift work and poor diet can have negative impacts both in and out of the workplace.

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WATCH: NSW Mining HSEC Conference Health Excellence Award Winner 
 
The NSW Mining Health, Safety, Environment and Community Health Excellence award-winning health management program focuses on three of the main lifestyle issues faced by Australians: obesity, musculoskeletal disorders and mental health. 
 
Boggabri teamed up with Queensland’s University of Technology (QUT) to implement a range of interventions and initiatives for its workers and their families to get involved with, such as a 2 day on-site health festival, DEXA body composition scans—to educate Boggabri staff on their body fat percentage, weight and bone density. Downer Mining also launched a health ambassador program, in addition to running a 12 week targeted (and research based) dietary and exercise intervention program.
 
The next step was to employ a full-time ‘Lifestyle Coordinator’—an accredited Exercise Physiologist who would design and run different activities for miners and their families to promote an ongoing healthy lifestyle.
 
Another positive aspect of the healthy lifestyle program has been including a reporting program where operators can flag times of fatigue and tiredness, with breaks permitted whenever required.
 
In 2013, Downer re-evaluated the steps that had been taken over the previous four years, with some promising positive results.
 
On average, employees at the mine had lost 9% of their body fat, increased fitness levels, alcohol consumption had drastically reduced, and workers had significantly increased their intake of nutritious fruits and vegetables contributing to an overall improvement in health, energy levels and general motivation.
 
But it wasn’t just direct health improvements that were noted, Boggabri’s safety record had also improved, with lower injury rates across the workforce and higher productivity levels.
 
Ken McLaren, General Manager of Operations at the Boggabri mine, told the ABC that the program led directly to an increase in production.
 
“Productivity has improved in terms of bank cubic metres per hour,” he said.
 
“We've had constant production gains since late 2012, in small increments, but we have definitely had less accidents and less damage to equipment.
 

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