Working Together, Staying Apart
Daniel is a mining engineer at our Marandoo iron ore mine in the Pilbara, Western Australia. Here’s how his team is using technology to stay apart and stay safe.
“I’m a mining engineer on site at Marandoo, but my job is as much about working with people as machines. So, like everyone, I’ve had to rethink the way I work in response to COVID-19.
We have some engineers that work remotely, and so our team thought: ‘what can we learn from them?’
It made us focus on how we were using technology. For some reason Pac-Man came to mind. I think it’s because, just like Pac-Man eating all the dots in its path, we need to get and use as many of the technology options we have available. We are constantly asking ourselves – do we really need to be physically present to do this? How can we use technology to do it more safely and efficiently?
One example of what we’ve done is the ramp-up of our drone flights – we’re now doing them daily. We’re also using our mine pit cameras more to monitor progress, and give us up to date information. That means we need to visit the mine less in person.
Our health and safety teams have been busy putting other safeguards in place around site: all our rooms have been measured and marked out so we know the maximum number of people that can be in an area at one time. And we have crosses marked on the floor too to help us keep a safe distance when we are in the room.
We’re doing ‘hazard hunts’ to find ways we can improve, and we’re learning from other teams too. I think it’s up to us, all of us, to change the way we do things – so we can all make a difference.”
Dr Oswaldo Ortiz
I’ve been at Rio for almost a decade – before that I worked close to ten years for other mining companies in Peru, where I was born. Infectious diseases are a very important topic there.
I was very lucky to attend a university with an internationally recognised centre for the study of infectious diseases. My professors there were remarkable microbiologists, infectious disease specialists and epidemiologists. I used to think that one day I would be a university lecturer! But my career took a different direction and I am so glad it did.
Today, I’m working with our business to make sure we are doing absolutely everything we can to keep our people and communities safe – every shift, every day. Wherever they are and whatever they do. Mental health is also really important because it’s an anxious time, not only for our employees but for their families.
It’s a huge responsibility, and an important one – but honestly, to me nothing is more important. And I’m so glad I can help.”Dr. Oswaldo Ortiz (pictured with his children) is one of our global team of medical professionals helping us respond to COVID-19
I thought: I bet I can find a way to open them without touching the handles. So I came up with the idea for this step – a bracket with an upturned lip for traction, and red and silver tape so you can’t miss it. And now we can open doors with our feet!
I guess we’re calling it the “Spencer Step,” which is nice. I’ll be honest, I usually come up with the idea for something, make it first and think about the planning later! I’m working with Chrisden and we are coming up with a plan so we can share it with our colleagues all over the world, so they can make their own. Here at Weipa, and I know other places around the world too, if we were to get sick and not be able to work it would have a big impact on our community. And you know, if there's anything I can do to stop that, I feel good about. Because it helps our community – and it means I am doing my part.”