In recent years the demand for dozer operators working on coal stockpiles has grown dramatically, increasing the need for specialised training in what is considered one of the most hazardous environments for dozer operators. Immersive Technologies says it has developed technology to specifically address operator safety in coal stockpiling. This technology is embedded in an upgrade to Immersive Technologies’ range of Advanced Equipment Simulators.The group states: “Coal stockpiling operations pose a high risk to operator safety and can lead to injuries or death if correct procedures are not followed; incidents can also halt operations and significantly impact repair and maintenance costs.” The simulation training based technology developed by Immersive Technologies focuses on reducing the operational risk of dozer stockpile operations by creating enhanced operator awareness of surroundings; training operators to minimise the risk of falling into a void; and assessing the competency of dozer operators to comply with and follow safe operating procedures. “We are continually developing new technologies that give our customers the highest return on their investment. These new features are developed for the latest version of SimControl, the software at the heart of the PRO3 Advanced Equipment Simulator and ensure our customers receive the maximum benefits from their simulation training,” said Peter Salfinger, CEO of Immersive Technologies.Immersive said that Rio Tinto’s Hail Creek mine and Glencore Xstrata were instrumental in the development of the technology: “Glencore Xstrata has recognised value in being able to take operators out of a potentially dangerous training environment with little ability for trainer interaction; into a realistic hands-on approach where operator errors can occur without sacrificing safety. This site, along with many others, only has one stockpile so any type of training halts production; simulator technology has proved to be advantageous in keeping operations running at full capacity while training operators to be safer and more productive.”Bluestone Global, an Australian based company specialising in labour hire, mining services, professional placement and international recruitment, utilises Immersive Technologies’ Advanced Equipment Simulators for their training efforts. Bluestone was a major contributor to the development ensuring the technology delivers the most accurate and effective training. “The dozer stockpile program will easily quantify itself in monetary returns as it is able to advance operators into a high proficiency level through a method that does not interfere with production. Stringent conditions and protocols make other methods to train complex due to the inability to be close while the operator is under instruction in relation to entering and operating on a coal stockpile. The only alternative is to deliver training from a distance or utilise another dozer which is both time consuming and costly,” said Darren Culley, Bluestone Global Executive Group Manager WHSQ.