13 September 2019
Fatigue risks are especially challenging at our Escondida mine in Chile because of its altitude – the mine is located over 3,000 metres above sea level. Fatigue and drowsiness have been leading contributors to accidents at the mine.
Since September 2015, the Health, Safety and Environment team have evaluated sleep disorders and conditions associated with working at altitude to better measure the sleep and fatigue risks.
The team engaged external providers to perform sleep assessments on the most vulnerable mine operators and transport providers. They also used SmartCap safety technology devices to read brainwaves, identify micro-sleeps, alert operators and identify the hours of greatest risk.
Since the program’s inception, 739 employees have been evaluated and 178 have received specialised treatment for associated sleep disorders. These employees now have their fatigue proactively managed so they can safely perform their work. This has led to better safety, health and productivity outcomes at the mine.
We are investigating using the program at other sites with similar fatigue challenges.