Shelbourne inventors in running for WorkSafe award

Shelbourne inventors John and Cate Keane will be representing central Victoria at this month’s WorkSafe Awards.

The Keanes’ fuse retainer the “JK Keeper” is a finalist in the “Best solution to a workplace health and safety issue” category of the 2012 awards.

Mr Keane is an electrician who works in the mining industry and he noticed that fuses were continually popping out of fuse boxes underground, creating unnecessarily time-consuming and dangerous work for electricians.

After a few years of tinkering, the Keanes – who co-runs mining efficiencies business Eagle Alternatives – came up with the JK Keeper.

The fuse retainer is now installed throughout the Fosterville mine.

“It holds fuses in so they don’t pop out when they are blasting or big trucks are rumbling around,” Ms Keane said.

Previously a popped fuse would mean no power, and no work until it was put back in.

“John would have to go down and fix it and it would take an hour of his time and an hour of machines not running,” Ms Keane said.

“It was simple thing, but required an electrician to go do it.

“The safety part is if the fuse shorts.

“It won’t kill you, but a fuse blowing in your hand is not a pleasant experience.”

Before the JK Keeper was fitted at Fosterville fuses would pop out a couple of times a month.

Since its installation, the mine hasn’t had a fuse pop in two years.

Ms Keane said they had entered the invention in the WorkSafe awards as a way of promoting the product and workplace safety.

“We wanted people to realise it really will make a difference to their operation,” she said.

“People like my husband go to work each day and I want him to come home again, and safely.”

The WorkSafe awards presentation will be held at the 

Melbourne Convention Centre on November 1.

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