Kevin Chong

Turning data into intelligence

Specialist Reliability Electrical Engineer (RioExpert), Rio Tinto; BE (Electrical & Electronics), University of Canterbury (New Zealand); Fellow of Engineers Australia; Chartered Engineer

High-voltage switchgear, transformer and distribution power line failures have resulted in multiple health and safety incidents at Rio Tinto’s iron ore operation in Western Australia, as well as contributing to a significant impact on the company’s mining operations.

Since 2015, Rio Tinto Utilities has increased its focus on asset health with the aim of improving electrical safety.

To achieve this, a number of improvement initiatives for high voltage electrical assets were introduced based on understanding asset failure modes and implementing correct condition monitoring techniques that could identify early signs of asset failure.

This innovative work by Specialist Reliability Electrical Engineer Kevin Chong FIEAust CPEng was designed to improve electrical asset health and employee safety by using state-of-the-art condition monitoring techniques and data visualisation and analytics to reduce the often unseen, and potentially fatal, risks of using high voltage equipment.

Chong has created a positive work culture within Rio Tinto Utilities that continues to encourage an attitude of “don’t just fix it; improve it”.

Having developed and delivered these monitoring projects for Rio Tinto, Chong has become an expert in this emerging fi eld.

In 2017, he designed and implemented a data visualisation and analytics platform that brought together asset condition data into a single online platform.

The platform, designed with predictive analytics capability, is accessed by a wide group, including health and safety representatives, business analysts, managers and employees on the ground.

This use has been found to be the most effective way of demonstrating a targeted maintenance regime that focuses on assets that are most at risk of impacting safety, production or the environment.

Through ongoing assessment and application of innovative thinking to address electrical safety problems, Chong has created a positive work culture within Rio Tinto Utilities that continues to encourage an attitude of “don’t just fix it; improve it”.

By demonstrating leadership excellence in electrical safety, he has been recognised for his innovative approach in improving health and safety in the workplace.

Judges’ comments:

“Although it seems to use available technology, the project appears to have been quite complex and well executed, with significant benefits. It demonstrates a clever approach to workplace health and safety by using a combination of technical skills and data visualisation and analytics.”

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