All the latest news in mine health and safety in NSW
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27 March 2019

In this issue:

Causal investigation into elevated gas levels at Metropolitan Coal Mine

The NSW Resources Regulator will lead a causal investigation into an incident at Metropolitan Coal Mine, where workers were withdrawn from underground parts of the mine after carbon dioxide and methane levels increased unexpectedly and at a significant rate.

A preliminary assessment did not identify any material breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and we have no intention of conducting any further investigation into non-compliance issues.

The focus of ongoing inquiries is to identify the issues associated with the event in accordance with our Causal Investigation Policy.

We will publish an Investigation Information Release on the incident within the next 14 days on our website.

Media release: Resources Regulator heads causal investigation at Metropolitan Coal Mine

Workers injured by high pressure fluid

The risk of serious injury and potential death to maintenance workers being struck in the face and body by high pressure fluid releases has been highlighted in recent incidents reported to the NSW Resources Regulator.

The incidents involved experienced contract maintenance workers undertaking a variety of tasks on hydraulic systems. High pressure fluid release was not an intended outcome of the task. The hierarchy of controls relied upon to control high pressure fluid release failed to prevent the maintenance workers from being struck and injured. The consequences caused serious and high potential injuries to workers.
Safety bulletin: Workers injured by high pressure fluid

Welding-related electric shocks

There was a substantial increase in the number of welding electric shock incidents recently reported, with five occurring in the first two months of 2019. In comparison, there were five similar incidents throughout 2018.

Workers need to be competent in the tasks they undertake. Those involved in welding should understand the welding electrical circuit and how to maintain a safe current path.

Contributing factors identified across the incidents include:
  • poor PPE management
  • welding equipment in poor condition
  • poor positioning of earth clamp
  • failure to identify and control wet work area or water source near work area
  • workers in contact with workpiece.
Safety bulletin: Welding-related electric shocks

Vehicle collisions cause for concern

Recently, there has been an increase in the reported number of incidents involving light vehicles at underground metalliferous mines.

Contributing factors identified across the incidents include:
  • failure to adequately implement positive communication requirements to control the risk of collision
  • positive communications requirements not followed due to high radio traffic
  • safety critical systems affected by low-quality maintenance
  • operators failing to drive to conditions
  • defects identified and not communicated to other vehicle operators
  • vehicles remaining in service after defects identified, but not repaired.
Safety bulletin: Rise in vehicle collisions raises concerns

Wongawilli issued with stop work order

Following ongoing issues at Wongawilli Mine our Chief Inspector of Mines has issued a stop work order to the mine operator in accordance with section 51 of the Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum sites) Act.

The stop work order follows the Regulator issuing four separate Section 195 prohibition notices on the mine’s operators last week, in relation to significant safety issues identified at the mine.

An investigation by the Major Investigation Unit is now underway.

Media release: Resources Regulator issues stop work order to Wongawilli mine over serious safety issues
Further contact info:
Resources Regulator | Phone: 1300 814 609

Regional NSW, Resources Regulator
516 High St
Maitland, New South Wales 2320

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