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Case Study: what are boom gates doing in the desert?

Supplier: Rotech Group By: Alan Roberts
01 August, 2018

Despite the odd appearance of a boom gate seemingly in the middle of nowhere, this barrier plays a vital role in protecting the lives of workers accessing a remote mine site in central Queensland.

Queensland’s Bowen Basin has the largest coal reserves in Australia. The 37 open cut mines account for more than 85% of saleable coal production and employ over 28,000 workers.

Requiring a large workforce and oversized heavy machinery, excavating in harsh remote locations makes mining a high-risk activity and presents a wide range of potential dangers.

However, the most common form of fatal hazard is vehicle interactions.  In the period 2001 to 2017 mobile equipment and light vehicle accidents accounted for almost half (46%) of fatalities in coal mines - 21% of incidents occurred at an intersection and a further 22% occurred on a haul road.

Trucks the size of a small apartment vs light vehicles 

The operators of a major open cut mine in the Bowen Basin, employing over 900 workers and contractors, had a situation where a newly constructed light vehicle access road needed to cross a busy haul road. 

Coal Mining Safety and Health Regulations require “a coal mine’s safety and health management system to provide for safe access to, and egress from, fixed and mobile plant used at the mine, including each part of the plant that is routinely accessed.”

This mine runs 40 x 250 tonne dump trucks 7 days a week along wide haulage roads, constantly moving mine waste and coal to and from the coal handling and train loadout facilities. 

The location of the new entrance road meant that light vehicles must cross the area where the haul roads are in order to get into the mine site.

A dangerous situation, even for trained safety conscious mine workers, the mine operators wanted a barrier which would prevent public and unauthorised people getting into this area but allow approved personnel access.

The challenges

  • The location of the boom gate, 5 kilometres away from the plant, meant there was no mains power or access control communication available.
  • The movement of vehicles entering and exiting the mine site had to be strictly controlled allowing only authorised people to enter.
  • The boom gates had to be relocatable so they could be moved as the mine’s road infrastructure changes.

Safety high on the agenda

Secure Coast Solutions installed Rotech’s Sector 12vdc Automatic Boom Gate with Solar Power.  This boom gate is designed for high-volume traffic control environments, particularly in situations where it is difficult to get mains power.

  • The boom gate’s ability to operate on 12 volt DC meant it could be powered using the same solar panels and batteries as the Wi-Fi access control system.
  • The batteries also power the lights which illuminate the gate and card readers at night making the entrance clearly visible in the dark.
  • The Sector provides additional safety and security with large battery back-up installed allowing the boom gate to operate for up to 5-7 days in periods where there is no sun.
  • Rotech’s dual height card reader stands house the access control system which wirelessly links to the mine's administration permitting site entry to authorised personnel.
  • All equipment was mounted on a purpose-built steel base enabling the boom gate, stands and solar system to be easily relocated.

Why Rotech Products

Stuart from Secure Coast Solutions said he chose Rotech’s Sector Boom Gate because “the Sector was the right fit for the project as the WiFi and access control system also ran on 12vdc it meant that everything was compatible and made it more economical when running on solar power.“

Stuart also said the thing he liked about the Sector was “even with a 6 metre pole the Sector boom gate still has a fast opening speed and the customer loves it.”

Since the installation, the system is working well - helping the mining company keep its employees and visitors from harm and preventing accidental or unauthorised entry into a very hazardous area.

If you would like further information about this or other safety and security combinations for your premises call Alan Roberts at Rotech.