That is why all new operators at Bengalla spend time in a cutting-edge simulator before progressing to the mine site.
The location of Bengalla’s roads, stop signs and infrastructure are programmed into the simulator, creating a realistic, but safe learning environment.
As one of Bengalla’s trainers, Sally Blenman guides new operators through the simulation.
“It plays out a lot of scenarios, so we can build up the training for a trainee,” Ms Blenman said.
“It’s a chance for us to go through emergency scenarios with our trainees and prepare them for things like wet weather driving and emergency breakdowns.
“They get a feel for the truck and familiarise themselves with where everything is located, particularly tipping functions.”
The simulator is as close to the real deal as you can get.
“It is realistic. The model we use is from a 5000 truck, which is our biggest truck on site.
“We’ve got the digger as well and also back in the classroom we have a big touch screen, so as far as walk arounds and pre-operational inspections, we have those for the dozer and the trucks.”
The real Hitachi 5000 weighs 500 tonnes.
It is 15 metres long and stands more than seven metres high.
Driving a machine of this scale for the first time can be a daunting experience, but Bengalla’s simulator gives our drivers the confidence to take the next step.
“Adult learning is primarily very visual, so while they do well in the classroom, you really see them come to life when they get to the simulator stage,” Ms Blenman said.
“It’s a huge benefit.”
The simulator has made for a rewarding learning experience, for both trainers and trainees alike.
“Seeing people get it. I don’t think it’s much better than when you can actually see the results come to life.”
Have a look at Sal’s video here