'SmartCap' fighting fatigue at Hunter Valley Operations
May 27, 2014

On the 14th May 2011, a serious incident occurred at Coal & Allied’s Hunter Valley Operations, where a truck driver fell into a ‘micro sleep’ near the end of his shift and his vehicle collided with another heavy vehicle. This incident called for change. And that’s where ‘SmartCap’ technology comes into the picture.


Truck drivers at Coal & Allied's Hunter Valley Operations have started wearing the innovative hi-tech cap to better manage their fatigue levels and reduce the risk of incidents, as demonstrated at the NSW Mining 2014 Health & Safety Conference.
The 'SmartCap' looks like a standard cap but has sensors inside the hat across the wearer's forehead to monitor signs of fatigue in brain activity and assess their level of alertness.
Hunter Valley Operations Manager, Tom explains "The operator is notified if their fatigue levels begin to rise so they can stop for a break or take other steps like moving to a different task or using the fatigue hut, a purpose built sleep room. An alarm is sounded in the operator's cabin if they get to the point of sustained tiredness or are at risk of a micro-sleep. As a final precaution, in the event the operator's fatigue levels continue to rise an alarm is then sent to the mine's dispatch centre so that supervisors can intervene.”
Hunter Valley Operations staff did their research before implementing the 'SmartCap', running a trial across many mine workers over an extended period of time, to confirm the adequacy of the product. 
"The decision to use the 'SmartCap' was made after a successful trial at Hunter Valley Operations last year which involved 48 operators and captured more than 4200 hours of data. The 'SmartCap' adds to a number of fatigue management measures we have onsite including soft controls such diet, healthy lifestyle and training."
NSW has one of the best safety records for mining in the world, and with a constant aim for zero harm in the workplace, the “SmartCap” is a step in the right direction and another example of why our miners are world class.

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