Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Details

Danellie Lynas, Gary Dennis, Robin Burgess-Limerick, Mining equipment human factors design for workforce diversity, Proceedings of the 2021 Resource Operators Conference, University of Wollongong - Mining Engineering, 10-12 February 2021, University of Southern Queensland, 383-390.


ABSTRACT: The minerals industry is a complex system in which procedures, equipment and people need to interact safely and efficiently to achieve operational requirements. The sector is also an attractive employment option, creating an environment of significant workforce diversity within equipment operators and maintainers. While a variety of standards and guidance materials exist to assist designers to provide equipment that accommodates workplace diversity, designers face significant challenges in applying this information, and may unnecessarily restrict the range of potential employees who can operate and maintain this equipment, and in turn create elevated injury risk. Understanding how equipment design impacts safe and comfortable operation and maintenance will provide additional assistance to designers. Information gathered at seven Australian surface coal mines was used to undertake a comprehensive review of the limitations of current equipment designs with regard to accommodating diversity in physical characteristics required to perform operational and maintenance tasks on site. A control framework approach to equipment design for diversity was developed where two required operating states were defined, (i) earth-moving equipment can be safely and comfortably operated by people of a maximum range of anthropometric diversity; and (ii) earth-moving equipment can be safely and comfortably maintained by people of a maximum range of anthropometric diversity. The general business case for increasing workforce diversity in mining is well established. Improving earth-moving equipment design is required to remove significant anthropometric and other work demand impediments to supporting this diversity. This paper highlights the inadequacy of currently available guidance material to equip designers to understand and address these challenges.