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The Evolution of Isolation

David Chatto – Head of REMSAFE


Isolation of machinery is an everyday occurrence on mine sites, and practices have improved considerably over time. This presentation will explore some of the key advances in isolation
practices over many decades.

Up-to-date isolation-related incident data from Queensland will be presented and examined. It will be suggested that improvement has at best plateaued and that a shift is required in our approach to isolation practices – in particular: a focus on higher-order controls.

Human factors will be identified as the leading ongoing cause of isolation-related incidents. Highly effective, currently available treatment options will be discussed. In particular,
autonomous isolation (often called ‘remote isolation’), will be put forward as a key method of driving step-change improvement in this area. Using James Reason’s model of human error (slips,
lapses, mistakes and violations), it will be shown that autonomous isolation is highly effective in treating all forms of human error.

Case studies will be presented to demonstrate the benefits of autonomous isolation and a recent technical advancement will be introduced to demonstrate the continuing evolution of isolation.