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Open Cut

Improving Operator Support and Selection Processes

Open Cut » Overburden Removal

Published: October 06Project Number: C14049

Get ReportAuthor: Graham Lumley, Andrew Hede | Ground Breaking Innovations, University of Sunshine Coast

Variations in dragline operator performance have major maintenance and productivity implications for mines.  The value of replacing operators who achieve below average performance, with operators who achieve higher productivity and lower damage costs through better selection and training practices, is likely to be in the order of $2 million per dragline.  This does not include the value of reduced training costs and the increased morale gained through selecting better performers.

All operators perform at different levels and yet there has never been a validated way of determining the performance capabilities of individual operators nor are processes in place to identify what support is needed to help them to perform at their maximum potential.  For many jobs, instead of employing effective, standardised procedures to identify prospective ‘top’ performers for trainee positions, simply the next person in line is selected. 

To address these shortcomings and to evaluate an effective selection, development and training tool, a field study was conducted that investigated whether perception, co-ordination and operator personality (e.g. intelligence, conscientiousness, etc.) can predict dragline performance (e.g. productivity and maintenance). Perception, co-ordination, intelligence and demographics were measured through a computer based testing program, called the Vienna Test System, (VTS). Conscientiousness was assessed in terms of dependability, hardworking, achievement-orientation and perseverance through supervisor ratings.

14 mines with 28 draglines, representing approximately 270 dragline operators out of a total population of 800 allowed undertook testing on their sites.  Of the 191 operators tested, 185 provided valid data sets and were used in the reported study.

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