Redesigned Safety Belt System Earns Recognition

Now in its eighth year, Peabody’s Safety and Health Innovation Awards encourage team members to develop safe and ingenious solutions to common challenges. The result produces pioneering innovations that significantly improve safety and often create time and cost efficiencies, boost productivity and can be shared across the workforce and potentially the industry. In 2017, nearly 30 original ideas and inventions were submitted by Peabody’s global workforce.

A redesigned safety belt system at Somerville Mine, Ind., earned Peabody recognition from the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, in conjunction with the U.S. National Mining Association, for using existing technology in a new way.

Seatbelts are crucial in containing people in equipment. Two-point, non-retracting seat belts are currently found in many pieces of mining equipment at Peabody. Yet, even while an operator is restrained with this traditional lap belt system, unforeseen events like sudden jolts, dramatic truck load shifts and rare rollovers create potential for injury, often with little to no warning.

  • To better restrain drivers in truck seats, Peabody’s Somerville Complex launched an effort to find a solution, identifying a Schroth auto-retracting, three-point seatbelt system.

  • The system had never been utilized in mining machinery before, requiring the mine to bring in an engineer to develop a bracket that would attach to a truck seat, enabling the three-point-harness to function correctly. As the Schroth test site for mining in the Americas, the system was tested several times at Somerville and was ultimately installed in eight Peabody haul trucks.

  • Peabody’s goal is to replace all two-point systems in its equipment with a three-point system, providing additional safety for every service vehicle operator.


Hydrone as a Safety Enhancement


At North Antelope Rochelle Mine in Wyo., mine impoundments require regular surveying to verify each reservoir’s storage capacity is adequate to hold runoff from a potential 10-year/24-hour major storm event. Failure to adequately contain runoff could result in discharge of improperly treated water, damage to the integrity of – and even failure of – an embankment and potential regulatory action.

  • Until recently, impoundment surveys involved using a heavy boat and required two people to float the reservoir while one served in a safety role on shore. Measurement of the impoundment bottom was accomplished by rowing a grid across the pond and periodically extending a rod over the side until the reservoir bottom was contacted. The process was inefficient, posed potential safety risks and collected insufficient data due to the limited number of depth points that could be measured.

  • To minimize risk, reduce labor and eliminate time-consuming maintenance, NARM implemented the use of HyDrone technology. This survey system is a one-man, echo-sounding catamaran unit that is lightweight and portable, operated by either a remote control or a laptop connected through a telemetry link.

  • Data gathered from the system is precise and reliable, resulting in accurate impoundment capacity calculations. The HyDrone is applicable at all Peabody operations where surveying water body depths is required.

Maximizing Equipment Utilization

Throughout 2017, Peabody leveraged equipment rebuilds and repairs, optimized equipment maintenance monitoring and modified procurement strategies. These practices enabled a recapitalization of the fleet and added capacity in a cost-effective way.

  • The implementation of a condition-based monitoring system, which provides real-time visibility into mining operations, has helped improve equipment reliability and extend the productivity and life of equipment. Enhanced analytics detect minor maintenance issues – before they become major – so that maintenance is executed even before recommended standards.

  • Significant cost savings may be achieved across our global fleet. For instance, the expected manufacturer life of a haul truck engine is around 20,000 hours. In 2017, NARM had six engines operating above 40,000 hours. At an average replacement cost of $500,000 per engine, estimated savings are nearly $3 million.

  • “Gently used” major mining equipment has also been seamlessly integrated into our fleet. Seventeen pieces of equipment were added for $24 million in 2017, saving around $75 million relative to new equipment pricing.

  • Purchasing minimally used equipment brings opportunity for enhanced efficiency – by idling less-efficient equipment – and can increase productivity and volumes. At NARM, some of the 240-ton capacity rental fleet was replaced with 320-ton capacity trucks that enable more units per employee hour.

Peabody is the leading global pure-play coal company and a member of the Fortune 500, serving power and steel customers in more than 25 countries on six continents. The company offers significant scale, high-quality assets, and diversity in geography and products. Peabody is guided by seven core values: safety, customer focus, leadership, people, excellence, integrity and sustainability.