Drones, wearables, fatigue sensors, and engaged employees integrated with Intelex EHS management software are central to the success of Coeur Mining Inc.’s 2019 EHS Innovation Award-winning approach to environmental, health, and safety management in the Metals, Mining & Natural Resources sector. Announced at the Verdantix Americas Summit in Atlanta, GA this week, Coeur Mining was named the winner of this prestigious award that recognizes organizations that use innovative technology approaches to keeping workers safe, protecting the environment, and delivering superior business results.
Coeur’s motto is “We Pursue a Higher Standard,” which is a philosophy that applies to everything the company does. The company’s EHS program extends across the entire organization with the goal of enhancing EHS culture and achieving standards that move beyond regulatory requirements.
Making IIoT-enabled EHS a Reality
Coeur’s innovative approach is built on the foundation of technology devices such as IIoT sensors, wearables, automation, analytics, and unmanned aerial vehicles, such as drones, and integrating them with safety management software from Intelex. Through connected workers, smart assets, and digitization of EHS programs and related data analytics through the Intelex platform, Coeur has been able to garner powerful and meaningful insights that go beyond traditional lagging indicators to be more real-time and predictive in nature. The result is a reduction in organization silos and barriers, increased efficiency, and a safer environment that all contribute to a bottom-line business impact. Compliance is applied throughout, supported by the principles of CORESafety, as well as standards such as OHSAS 18001, ANSI-Z-10, ISO 26000, and ISO 14001.
This isn’t the first time Coeur Mining has been recognized for its innovative approach to EHS. In July 2017, the company achieved the CORESafety certification from the National Mining Association (NMA) in recognition of its efforts to meet and exceed designated health and safety standards.
Removing the EHS Data Fragmentation Barrier from IIoT
There are three primary pillars to Coeur’s EHS program:
- Defining the goal and purpose of the project.
- Understanding processes and systems.
- Engaging people.
While IIoT technologies have played an important part in facilitating these goals, Coeur further recognizes that technology solutions can only support success when the fundamental elements relating to processes and people are fully understood and engaged.
The technology that supports Coeur’s EHS program is both diverse and integrated.
Automation & Drones: Coeur uses automation to eliminate or reduce workers’ exposure to risk whenever possible. Drones collect data on high wall structural integrity, incidents, blasts, and other events to improve postmortem analysis and dictate corrective actions. Drones also evaluate the slopes of abandoned mines to determine their stability and safety. Automation allows Coeur to reduce or eliminate worker exposure by automating many tasks to keep workers above ground and away from danger. It also helps to streamline tasks and reduce maintenance and overhead costs. Through automating and managing processes, Coeur was able to reduce the number of crushers at one plant from six to two and the number of conveyors from forty to three.
Wearables & Sensors: Wearables and sensors provide another opportunity to protect workers and reduce risk. By monitoring employees in various roles in real time, Coeur can do everything from observing the underground environment and making ventilation adjustments to locating injured workers and reducing response time. Sensors also monitor truck drivers for microsleep and fatigue to prevent potentially fatal road accidents.
EHS Management System: Coeur integrates all these technology solutions into a single safety management system built on the Intelex platform. This integration produces vast amounts of data that Coeur can analyze to produce information about hazards, near misses, inspections, processes, and hidden root causes. This information is distributed across the organization in accessible and interactive dashboards that facilitate better decision-making and increased cross-functional knowledge. As a result, Coeur has built a dedicated and engaged safety culture that extends all the way from the workers to the leadership. EHS awareness, and the outcomes it produces, are top-of-mind for every employee.
Real-World IIoT EHS Impact
Coeur has achieved remarkable results from its EHS program. Since 2012, Coeur has reduced injury rates by 75% and Total Reportable Injury Frequency Rates (TRIFR) by 68%. Continuous improvement of the program has produced a further reduction of 25% TRIFR and a 70% decline in significant spills in 2017-2018 alone.
Intelex is proud to work with Coeur Mining on its innovative and award-winning EHS program. Congratulations to Coeur for its dedication to worker safety and environmental sustainability.