Weekly incident summary

20 September 2019  | ISR19-36 | Go to website
To report an incident call 1300 814 609 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Week ending Friday 13 September 2019
High level summary of emerging trends and our recommendations to operators.

Reportable incidents: 30
Summarised incidents: 9

This incident summary provides information on reportable incidents and safety advice for the NSW mining industry.

Dangerous incident | IncNot 0035497

SummaryA fire occurred on the surface of an underground metalliferous mine when a dump truck exited the portal. The fire suppression was activated which automatically extinguished the fire.
The investigation identified that the radiator pump assembly’s o-ring in a hose/valve block arrangement failed, causing a mist of hydraulic fluid to be sprayed over a hot engine. The oil made contact with the engine because a cover had been left off. The cause of the o-ring failure was due to incorrect torque applied to the hose/valve block fitting.

Recommendations to industry: Mine operators should review maintenance procedures to ensure that the manufacture’s torque settings are applied to fasteners. 
Mine operators should review maintenance procedures to ensure commissioning checks are carried out by a competent person before the plant is returned to service as fit for purpose. 

Dangerous incident | IncNot 0035498

SummaryA service truck, at an open cut coal mine, rolled away from where it was parked. The vehicle travelled approximately 50 metres before turning itself around. It continued to travel another 80 metres, coming to rest on a coal windrow on the bench below a loaded and demarcated blast zone.
As the vehicle was rolling, a worker ran after the vehicle until the truck came to its final resting place. The worker turned off the pumps and drove the vehicle out of the demarcated area.

Recommendations to industry: Mine operators must ensure that all vehicles are parked in suitable areas or designated park up areas. 
Workers should receive communication regarding:
  • compliance with correct parking procedures
  • being situationally aware of hazards.
Mine operators should consider:

Dangerous incident | IncNot 0035534

SummaryAn opal claim miner fell approximately 40 feet down a mine shaft. This resulted in the miner having to be rescued by emergency services. 
The worker sustained serious injuries and was taken to hospital by helicopter.

Recommendations to industry: Opal mine operators should review  Safety Alert 18-14, which provides recommendations regarding the risk of injury and falls in opal mines shafts.

Dangerous incident | IncNot 0035514

SummaryAn outburst occurred at an underground coal mine while trimming the roof and floor in a development panel.
Two workers were at the continuous miner preparing to install a sheet of roof mesh following a grunching cycle, when rill material dropped at the face, causing a dust cloud to extend to the miner platforms.
The gas reading on the CO2 monitor mounted on the continuous miner went off-scale following the incident.
Both workers egressed the machine platforms without incident and were not injured.
The continuous miner was pulled back from the face. No road tape was installed approximately 20 metres outbye of the face, for scene preservation.  
The continuous miner in an adjacent panel was also grunching at the time of the incident and was stood down, pending investigation. No road tape was installed approximately 40 metres outbye of the face.

Recommendations to industry: The mine operator should consider the guidance information located in the targeted intervention program report– Gas outburst risks in longwall mining.

Dangerous incident | IncNot 0035515

SummaryA contract worker received an electric shock at an open cut coal mine. The worker was conducting insulation test using a 5 KV tester on a Liebherr 282 haul truck wheel motor. 
The investigation identified a lack of procedures and training regarding the correct use of the 5 KV insulation tester, and that the tester leads were not fit for purpose. 
The worker was taken to hospital for further assessment.


Recommendations to industry:
A section 195 notice was issued to the mine prohibiting the use of the 5KV tester until safe work procedures were developed and implemented. 
High voltage test equipment must be operated by a trained and competent person and must be maintained in a fit for purpose condition.

Dangerous incident | IncNot 0035517

SummaryA load haul dump (LHD) was towing a feeder breaker on a sled into an underground coal mine when a uni-joint on the tailshaft failed.
The tailshaft appeared to have damaged hydraulic hoses within the engine bay, resulting in a fire. The fire suppression system on the LHD was activated, extinguishing the fire in the engine bay. 
A secondary fire occurred on one of the engine bay covers, forced open by the failure. The secondary fire was extinguished by the machine operator with a handheld fire extinguisher.
No one was injured as a result of the incident.


Recommendations to industry:
Fires in underground mining environments can lead to significant risk and catastrophic events. 
Mobile equipment should be inspected and maintained to a high standard to reduce the risk of component failure, helping to keep the risk of fires to as low as reasonably practicable.

Dangerous incident | IncNot 0035523

SummaryA contract worker at a metalliferous mine was drilling a vertical hole into concrete using a hand held 240-volt wet drill. When the worker pressed the trigger of the device, an electric shock was felt.
The worker was taken to hospital for assessment. 
The investigation identified that a water collection system, in conjunction with a wet-type industrial vacuum cleaner, is a mandatory requirement for working on ceilings. 


Recommendations to industry: Mine operators and contractor managers should ensure that before workers use 240-volt portable tools, they conduct an inspection of the equipment and it is used as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Dangerous incident | IncNot 0035537

SummaryAn excavator at an open cut coal mine was operating during production when a fire occurred.
The on-board fire suppression system was activated allowing the worker to safely egress the machine without injury.
Further cooling via water cart was required to fully extinguish the fire. The fire occurred in the engine bay of the excavator, with the specific cause still to be determined.

Recommendations to industry:
Mine operators must conduct a thorough investigation, by a competent person, to determine the root cause of any fire that occurs on mobile equipment.
The investigation should include :
  • fuel source and heat sources
  • surface temperature value
  • cause of the fire
  • controls to prevent reoccurrence, such as reducing engine component surface temperatures and segregating fuel sources from areas of high temperature 
  • training workers to identify fire risks, such as fuel or oil leaks, or worn hoses
  • review of the fire risk assessment for the item of plant.
Mine operators should report the issue to the equipment manufacturer.

Dangerous incident | IncNot 0035538

SummaryAn underground loader, at an underground metalliferous mine, was in the process of bogging when the operator noticed oil spraying at the rear of the machine and flames within the engine compartment.
The worker manually activated the on-board fire suppression system, which immediately extinguished the fire. 
The worker was able to exit the machine without injury.

Recommendations to industry: Fires in underground mining environments can lead to significant risk and catastrophic events.
Mobile equipment should be inspected and maintained to a high standard to reduce the risk of component failure, keeping the risk of fires to as low as reasonably possible.
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You can find all our guidance and incident related publications (that is, safety alerts, safety bulletins, incident information releases, weekly incident summaries and investigation reports) on our website:

*While the majority of incidents are reported and recorded within a week of the event, some are notified outside this time period. The incidents in this report therefore have not necessarily occurred in a one week period. All newly recorded incidents, whatever the incident date, are reviewed by the Chief Inspector and senior staff each week and summarised in this report. For more comprehensive statistical data refer to our Safety Performance Measures Reports and our Business Activity Reports
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