Optalert and the mining industry

Predictive drowsiness technology for maximum productivity

Optalert technology detects the first signs of drowsiness and can be used to complement and enhance existing fatigue management systems or occupational health and safety (OHS) policies. The ability to continuously provide objective alertness information to the driver provides an opportunity to change or modify behaviour in order to remain safe and alert, with the added benefit of helping drivers understand the importance lifestyle and external events can have on sleep-wake cycles and drowsiness levels at work.

Optalert is the only predictive drowsiness safety system in the world that continuously provides scientifically-validated, objective alertness information to both drivers and supervisors in real-time. The continuous flow of information offers two layers of protection against the dangers of drowsiness and allowsall parties to monitor the associated risk and initiate proactive measures before reaching dangerous levels.

A fully implemented Optalert system reduces the risk of accidents at mining sites and maximises productivity.

Optalert’s technology identifies:

  • Which are the operators with the highest risk of drowsiness?
  • What are the places or locations within a site with the highest probability of risk incident?
  • What is the period or time of greatest risk for my operation?
  • When is the most productive period?
  • What actions were taken to contain the eminent risk?

Case study: Data in Fig.1. is from a mining site in 2018, which shows a rapid decline in drowsy drivers and the number of alert warnings given, following Optalert implementation.

Phase 1

Baseline phase:  Visual feedback of alertness / drowsiness scores and in-cab drowsiness warnings were switched OFF (inactive).

Phase 2

Active phase:  Visual feedback of alertness / drowsiness scores and in-cab drowsiness warnings (visual and sound) were switched ON (active) / operator self-management.

Phase 3

Phase 2 plus control room monitoring and notifications when operators receive medium and high risk alerts

Mining organisations are using the information provided by Optalert to quantify the impact of drowsiness on their operations, from the driver level through to senior management. This objective information is being used positively as a tool for reinforcing operational decisions such as changes in tasks, shift-rotations, break times, or timing of appropriate countermeasures.

Over time, this data can also be used to profile the overall fatigue-related risk of an entire operation. Quantifying changes in risk provides objective evidence regarding the effectiveness of a company’s fatigue risk management or OHS policies and proceduresover periods of months or even years.

Optalert has also played a role in uncovering underlying health issues in operators, which can impact their alertness or drowsiness levels throughout their shift.Drivers with consistent high alert levels have been assessed by medical professionals to uncover various sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, insomnia, and shift worker disorder.