Cloud Peak Energy is incorporating cutting-edge technology into its trucks in hopes of identifying and preventing fatigue or distraction in heavy equipment operators.
The new “Seeing Machines” entail continual camera surveillance of a vehicle's driver, which is analyzed by computer software to identify facial features that indicate an operator may be fatigued or distracted. Production manager at the Spring Creek Mine, Erik Strom, said the new systems can alert the driver to be vigilant on the job.
With drivers sometimes working long, 12-hour shifts and operating vehicles the size of a small apartment, Strom said the advantage of having continual operator monitoring can be a huge safety boost. Cloud Peak Energy has invested roughly $1 million installing the systems into high-use and high-risk heavy equipment in several mining locations around the region.
Strom said the Spring Creek Mine currently has one haul truck equipped with a Seeing Machine, and more systems are being considered. He emphasized the priority of the program is to have all the mine's workers go home safe each day.