Peñasquito’s Predictive System Monitors Fatigue

Apr 4, 2019 6:30 AM ET

Fatigue, readiness and sleep health have become a critical component of health and safety in the workplace.  Fatigue is often invisible and difficult to predict, and it is among the most complex risks workers face today. Effective fatigue and readiness management require more than simply measuring the prior night’s sleep.

Goldcorp’s Peñasquito mine is staying alert to the risk of fatigue-related accidents and implementing a predictive system for monitoring fatigue as part of the site’s risk management.

In 2018, six Potentially Fatal Occurrences (PFO) at Peñasquito were directly related to drivers feeling either tired or exhausted. Five of those PFOs resulted in collisions with haul trucks, and fatigue experienced by drivers was identified as an important contributing factor in the collisions.

In response to these risks, and in order to better understand the role that fatigue plays in our operations, Peñasquito decided to look for new solutions that could be adapted to the Guardvant system, which is currently installed on haul trucks to monitor fatigue. Guardvant is an eye-tracking technology that detects whether a driver is distracted or is falling asleep at the wheel. A laptop and camera on the vehicle’s dashboard measure the driver’s eyelid movements and identifies the onset of fatigue and micro-sleeps.

The team at Peñasquito, along with Fatigue Science, a leading expert in fatigue measurement, prediction and analysis solutions, launched a pilot test in the third quarter of 2018. The goal was to evaluate the severity level of fatigue risk in 70 individuals. The participants wore Fatigue Science’s Readiband™, a wrist-worn device, for 30 days which measured the quantity and quality of their sleep, as well as their levels of alertness. The participants were divided into four groups in daytime and nighttime shifts.

The test results indicated that participants experienced fatigue impairment during 18.9% of total working hours, and that their sleep lasted an average of 6.2 hours. The day shift participants experienced fatigue during 8.9% of total working hours, and that their sleep lasted an average of 6.4 hours. Exposure to fatigue decreased slightly during the shift. The night shift participants experienced fatigue during 49.0% of total working hours, they were in a state of fatigue while working, and their sleep lasted an average of 5.4 hours. The results provided Peñasquito with a baseline for monitoring improvements in levels of alertness and confirmed that the site needed to improve fatigue risk management.

As a result, Peñasquito is deploying a predictive fatigue management solution to more than 1,000 employees at the mine. Mine employees are equipped with the Readiband™ wristbands, and its mobile software application, so they can manage their personal readiness and fatigue levels in advance of and during their shift. In the interest of worker safety, management also utilizes a fatigue prediction dashboard prior to the start of each shift to proactively assess and intervene on any operations personnel who are projected to become at risk of experiencing high levels of fatigue during their upcoming shift, and support workers who present acute or chronic fatigue.

The implementation began at the end of January 2019 and will last 12 months. The goal is to measure the quality and quantity of sleep and create health profiles for each worker, mainly drivers. The new health profiles may suggest changes in lifestyle, such as increased hours of sleep, as well as improved nutrition onsite and offsite.

“We understand that monitoring and addressing worker readiness and fatigue has substantial economic benefits including the reduction of injuries and lost time, while increasing worker satisfaction and productivity,” said Victor Vdovin, Mine Operations Manager at Peñasquito. “Through close collaboration with Fatigue Science, we have also obtained full support of Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores Mineros, Metalúrgicos, Siderúrgicos y Similares de la República Mexicana which represents our mine employees, in deploying the fatigue management program. We want to ensure that every one of our people goes home safe at the end of every shift.”

In addition, during the following months, the site will be enhancing its fatigue monitoring technologies with the development and implementation of a Comprehensive Employee Health and Wellbeing Program. The program includes:

  • Routine medical check-ups and biological monitoring.
  • Studies of occupational pollutants (noise, silica, lead, etc.).
  • Promoting health: nutrition, smoking, sedentary lifestyle etc.
  • Fatigue risk management.
  • Lifestyle: sport facilities, dormitories, cafeterias.
  • Psychosocial factors.

Recognizing that fatigue is an operational and health risk and linked to quality of life at home and at work, as well as with factors such as open communication between personnel and supervisors, Peñasquito aims to utilize the combined technologies to make it possible to identify, manage, and predict fatigue before it occurs.  This will improve safety, performance, and levels of alertness, as well as to ensure mine operations are Safe Enough For Our Families.