Fighting Fatigue with Fatigue-Management Telematics

How fatigue-management telematics can help miners stay safe.

Australian Mining Industry

While Australia’s mining industry is globally recognised for its safety standards, it remains a high-risk sector, where workplace hazards range from heat-related stress to potential collisions with heavy machinery. Surprisingly, it’s the seemingly ordinary threats that claim the most lives. Research conducted in Queensland and Western Australia has pinpointed vehicle accidents as a leading cause of fatalities and injuries within mines, with fatigue frequently playing a role.

Maintaining constant vigilance and minimising risks are paramount in this industry. To address the issue of driver fatigue, Safer Together and several leading mining operators in Australia have introduced new fatigue-management requirements. However, while this is a positive step, it may impose an additional compliance burden on fleet managers. Fortunately, innovative telematics solutions are poised to assist in accident prevention and the streamlined enforcement of fatigue-management policies.

The business case for leveraging telematics to reduce fatigue-related incidents is crystal clear, spanning both light and heavy vehicles. Although there is an initial cost associated with implementing these systems, the alternative could prove significantly more expensive. A serious accident can have catastrophic consequences for workers and businesses alike, including high insurance costs, legal liabilities, damage to reputation, and the time-consuming process of equipment replacement and paperwork handling.

According to a study conducted by the University of Queensland, fatigue was identified as a contributing factor in approximately 2.5% of all reportable incidents at mining sites across Queensland, New South Wales, and Western Australia. However, this figure likely underestimates the true risk for fleet managers, as a staggering 80% of fatigue-related incidents involve vehicles, primarily heavy ones. The same report strongly suggests that registered fatigue incidents are underreported.

Adding to the urgency is the current labour shortage in the mining industry, particularly in light of the fact that mine workers in non-managerial roles already work longer hours than those in any other sector. A Perth-based consultancy, Pit Crew, estimates a current workforce shortfall of 28,000 workers in Australia, a number that could increase to 36,500 within the next two years.

In this challenging context, telematics emerges as a viable solution for companies to systematically and cost-effectively reduce the risk of fatigue-related incidents. Geotab, for example, offers a cutting-edge fatigue-management system that continuously monitors driver fatigue and distractions in real-time, utilising under-seat vibrations and advanced camera monitoring. It also incorporates accident and event camera footage, detection of mobile phone usage, and seatbelt monitoring, providing comprehensive fleet safety and compliance solutions.

What sets this solution apart is its flexibility, offering a choice between in-house management and 24/7 data monitoring services, tailored to meet specific customer needs. Customers retain full ownership of the captured footage and data without the need to request it from suppliers.

Furthermore, Geotab’s fatigue-management system seamlessly integrates into a suite of other telematics solutions. Geotab’s solutions are designed with scalability in mind, allowing them to adapt as fleets expand, all within a single platform. By processing billions of data points daily, Geotab leverages data analytics and machine learning to help customers improve productivity, optimise fleets by reducing fuel consumption, enhance driver safety, and ensure compliance with evolving regulatory standards.

This solution is available through Fleet Complete, Geotab’s largest reseller in Australia, which has earned a stellar reputation and market reach over more than two decades by understanding the unique dynamics of Australia’s economy and work culture.

If you would like to take our fleet management system for a spin to see how it can help you reduce your fleet footprint, get started today. Try our Fleet Complete demo.

This article was originally published by Geotab on the 10th May 2023.

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