Sep 21, 2012
Mining sector needs more alcohol educationBack
Engineering|Rustenburg|Africa|Alcohol Breathalysers GM|Anglo American Platinum|De Beers|Education|Health|Mining|Platinum|Safety|SECURITY|System|Testing|Africa|South Africa|Alcohol Testing Equipment Supplier|Equipment|Fuel Cell Sensor Technology|Machinery|Work Site|Angus MacArthur|Electrochemical Fuel Cell Sensor Technology|Fuel Cell Sensor Technology|Fuel Cell Technology
© Reuse this
He states that many mining companies experience difficulties, particularly on Monday mornings, with workers who consumed large amounts of alcohol over the weekend.
“Depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, many workers are not aware of the amount of liquor that is still in their system from the night before. This needs to be dealt with through visible awareness and education about alcohol testing,” says MacArthur.
A high level of alcohol in the body affects vision, reaction speed and coordination. Workers will be unable to operate machinery or drive vehicles, as they would be a hazard to themselves and their fellow workers.
MacArthur notes that the average human body can only process one unit of alcohol an hour and workers who consume more pose a safety risk at the workplace.
The automated EBS helps enforce zero tolerance of alcohol at the workplace and does not require any human operation.
MacArthur says this is an advantage, as there is no room for human error or accusations of victimisation or discrimination. All workers are tested through the EBS.
Companies will also save on costs, as there will be no need for security personnel to conduct the tests.
MacArthur suggests that the breathalysers be connected to turnstiles at the entrance of workplaces.
He emphasises that the EBS is not a tool for the dismissal of workers, but rather a tool to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations.
The EBS allows companies to adhere to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which states that “an employer or user, as the case may be, shall not permit any person who is or who appears to be under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, to enter, or remain at, a workplace”.
Workers are requested to identify themselves at the workplace with a fingerprint, palm print or retina scan, depending on which time keeping system is in place. They then blow into the EBS and wait for the result. A pass allows the turnstile to open and a fail prevents access and registers on the system.
MacArthur says workers who fail the test are given a second opportunity to test with a handheld machine or a machine with a printer. Should the worker fail the second test, the employer will initiate the necessary disciplinary procedures.
The EBS is used by diamond producer De Beers and diversified miner Anglo American Platinum’s Rustenburg base metals refinery (RBMR).
MacArthur reveals that, after almost two years of using the EBS, the alcohol test failure rates at sites are almost zero.
Trials at De Beers were concluded in late 2010 and the company is currently using the latest version of the EBS.
Further, he says the EBS has managed to cope with more than double the tests originally expected.
“We thought the machine could handle 5 000 tests in one calibration cycle, but we have seen that they can handle up to 12 000 tests. “The machine still produced accurate results, even after its accuracy was checked after 12 000 tests. “This is a great achievement in terms of the success of the implementation of the device,” he enthuses.
MacArthur says the cost and technical requirements to manufacture the machines locally are substantial and he believes there is no established industry in South Africa for the production of the fuel cell technology that is used to make the machine.
The electrochemical fuel cell sensor technology is preferred by many companies, as it checks only for ethanol. In comparison, semiconductor alcohol sensors may detect substances such as cigarette smoke, menthol, sugar and mouth alcohol.
The electrochemical fuel cell sensors in the EBS have longer calibration cycles and do not produce false positive results.
MacArthur notes that installations come with challenges, for example, condensation had begun to form in a number of EBS machines during winter, as a result of the moist human breath and bitterly cold air at RBMR. To combat the challenge, extraction fans were added to the bases of the units to extract the exhaled breath, eliminating the condensation.
Alcohol Breathalysers plans to release a weatherproof version of the EBS, with a plastic casing to protect it from harsh weather conditions.
Further, the company notes that hundreds of engineering companies in South Africa are making use of hand-held alcohol breathalysers, owing to the smaller number of staff on site, compared with the number of employees on mines.
Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online
Other Video News
Updated 27 minutes ago Allegations that South Africa promised a $10-million bribe to a former FIFA vice president to win its 2010 World Cup bid were unfounded, a South African Football Association (SAFA) spokesperson said on Wednesday. “We are disappointed at the allegations ... they are...
Updated 1 hour 26 minutes ago Senegal power utility Senelec on Wednesday signed a preliminary agreement with Qatar's Nebras Power and Japanese firm Mitsui & Co Ltd to build a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification terminal and a 400 MW power station. Senegal, which generates much of...
Updated 1 hour 29 minutes ago Tanzania plans to spend 4.394-trillion shillings ($2-billion) to build new roads and a bus rapid transit system to unclog traffic in its commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, a senior official said on Wednesday. Dar es Salaam, with a population of over four-million, is...
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
This Week's Magazine
While economic forecasts for the African continent are most favourable, African airlines may not be able to benefit from the expected growth in the region’s gross domestic product (GDP), International Air Transport Association VP: Africa Raphael Kuuchi has warned....
The Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP) will need to change substantially post 2020, says Metair Investments South African operations COO Ken Lello. “We must not make tweaks. We have to change. What we are doing is not sustainable.”
Banking group Absa’s forecast is for the rand to end the year at around R13 against the dollar, weakening further to R13.50 by 2016, says Absa sectoral analyst Jacques du Toit. He warns that possible interest rate hikes in the US may see capital being pulled from...
The Dispute Resolution Centre at the Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry (BCCEI) is now open to handle party-to-party disputes. The BCCEI represents the interests of all level four to nine Construction Industry Development Board companies.
Communications technology firm Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa head Fredrik Jejdling says the company’s commitment to sustainability and corporate responsibility has been integrated into all facets of its operations, which has provided it with sustainable revenue...