2022 Health, Safety, Environment & Community Award Winners Announced

The winners of the NSW Minerals Council’s 2022 Health, Safety, Environment and Community Conference Award were announced at a major Industry Awards Dinner at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley last night.

Over 500 people from across NSW were in attendance to celebrate excellence and innovation in NSW mining and to hear the winners announced.

Winners were announced in four categories – ‘Health Excellence’, ‘Safety Excellence’, ‘Environmental Excellence’ and ‘Community Excellence’.

“It was great to see our Award winners recognised by so many of their industry peers in person at our Awards dinner last night after several years of postponements due to COVID,” NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said today.

“These Awards are an important component of our industry’s efforts to deliver better outcomes for our workforce, our communities, and the local environment.”

Winner – Health Excellence 

The Bloomfield Group – MY Mindset: How an innovative yet simple solution put mental health on top of the agenda.

In 2019, a Critical Hazard Workshop involving input from over 400 Bloomfield employees highlighted that poor mental health and worker distraction present a significant risk of fatality across the business.

Bloomfield deployed a simple yet highly effective mechanism to promote mental health, increase awareness of mental health issues, and build a connection between workers and mental health support professionals.

The MY Mindset program commenced with the adoption of the well-known model of a periodic medical. However, instead of a check predominantly focused on physical health, a MY Mindset bus visited every site and gave every single employee a 20-minute one-on-one dedicated mental health awareness session with a member of the business’ Employee Assistance Program (EAP) team. The resulting uptake was high, with 96% of the workforce participating.

The approach broke down barriers and increased the likelihood of workers accessing mental health support when they needed it, resulting in a 54% increase in the level of uptake of the EAP service.

Winner – Safety Excellence 

Glencore, Ulan Underground – Dust Extraction System aka Mr Snuffleupagus

The Ulan Underground dust extraction system, also known as Mr Snuffleupagus, provides a safe working environment by removing airborne dust from areas where cementitious products are mixed and applied.

The idea was generated from the front line, where employees were applying shotcrete and plaster products in low ventilation areas. Through consultation between the workforce, the Ventilation Officer and content experts, the dust extraction system was designed with the intention to extract dust at the source.

The system has no moving parts and uses a Clarke Airflow 100 venturi air mover to extract the dust generated by equipment used to mix and apply cementitious products. This simple, innovative idea is easily replicable at a low cost.

Trials have shown that when using Mr Snuffleupagus, the respirable dust level is considerably reduced below workplace exposure standards.

Winner – Environment Excellence 

Yancoal,  Mount Thorley Warkworth  – Developing an effective noisy miner management program to benefit critically endangered regent honeyeaters

In 2016, regent honeyeaters were discovered nesting on Mount Thorley Warkworth’s biodiversity offset property in the Goulburn River.

The regent honeyeater is a critically endangered songbird, with a current population of approximately 300 individuals. A key threat to the regent honeyeater is the noisy miner, a pest bird that chases honeyeaters from their breeding grounds and destroys nests.

In collaboration with the Australian National University and Australian Vertebrate Pest Management, MTW has implemented an experimental noisy miner management program.

The program has effectively cleared over 785 hectares of regent honeyeater breeding habitat of noisy miners, allowing regent honeyeaters and many other threatened bird species to breed without threats of noisy miners.

The collaborative project has been the most successful noisy miner management program in Australia, leading to two peer-reviewed scientific publications and establishing a framework for how and where to manage noisy miners in other biodiversity hotspots.

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