Truck drivers employed by the world’s biggest mining company are wearing baseball caps and hard helmets with sensors mounted inside to track their brain waves so they can get early warnings of fatigue and cut accidents.
BHP Billiton Ltd. has deployed the technology for 150 trucks at the Escondida copper mine it operates in Chile as part of efforts to boost safety, Chief Technology Officer Diane Jurgens told reporters Wednesday on the sidelines of a mining forum in Melbourne.
The company intends to adopt the method at other sites globally, including its giant iron ore mines in Australia, she said.
The new technology, involving a six-inch strip fitted inside the headgear, is now being used in preference to earlier technology that tracked eye movements, said Jurgens, who was appointed in 2016 after previous roles with companies including General Motors Corp. and Boeing Co.
“You can’t fool this cap, because it’s watching your brain waves and not looking at your eyes — it’s a much better technology,” she said. “When it detects fatigue it will notify our drivers, and also just as importantly, it’s integrated with the back office and the supervisors and they can intervene.”
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