Iron Ore Company of Canada wins Rio Tinto global Ground Breaker award for safety

10 mars 2017

The Iron Ore Company has received the Rio Tinto CEO Ground Breaker Safety Award for its Thumb Activated Microphone on Graders initiative.

Ground Breakers is Rio Tinto's global group-wide recognition awards programme, with winners chosen by Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques. Awards are given to teams who are doing great work around the business in support of our 5 priorities- safety, people, cash, partnerships and growth. 

"The team put in a lot of hard work to develop an integrated microphone for our graders so that operators can keep their hands on the controls while communicating," said IOC President and CEO Clayton Walker. "This is an important step to making IOC a safer workplace by addressing our critical risk of vehicle collision or rollover."

Nominated by Bold Baatar, Chief Executive Energy & Minerals, the IOC team includes Rodney FarrellShane GreeningColin Rideoutand John Spurrell and are among more than 13,000 highly motivated and talented employees within the Energy and Minerals product group.

"This initiative was a collaborative effort based on requests from operators and the radio crew developing a solution," says Scott Melvin, Manager Mine Mobile Operations. "Working together to achieve a common goal has resulted in a very successful outcome that will keep our employees safer and we are very proud of the team for achieving recognition for their efforts." 


The team combined their creativity and operations knowledge to develop the Thumb activated microphone on graders initiative. In order to communicate with on-coming heavy mine equipment such as the 320 tonne haulage trucks and light vehicles, a grader operator active in a pit is required to pick-up and click a microphone, which means releasing the operating joystick. On average, this occurs between 75 to 100 times in a 12 hour shift. Releasing the joystick causes the grader to stop abruptly and negatively impacts the continuity and quality of road maintenance. 

To address this disruption, the team integrated a 'radio' button into the joystick, allowing the operator to make and receive calls without having to release the joystick.  In terms of Critical Risk Management (CRM), this solution directly addresses the critical risk of vehicle collision or rollover. In addition it also improves productivity by reducing the impact on roads and the grader. This solution supports a safe and productive working environment which is a priority for IOC and Rio Tinto. 

IOC is committed to achieving safer and more stable production, with the objective of being a lower cost producer of quality grade iron ore concentrate and pellets for the steel industry, and making IOC the premier mining organization in North America