All the latest in mine health and safety in NSW
Weekly incident summary
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Weekly incident summary - week ending 23 October 2020
43 reportable incidents, 4 summarised below

Dangerous incident | IncNot0038471

Underground coal mine 
Summary: A worker was extending fibreglass ventilation tube in a maingate development roadway when, his head was sucked into the tube. He was able to free himself but suffered lacerations to his face. The ventilation line was approximately 20 metres from the fan.
Comments to industry:  Control measures and procedures in relation to installing ventilation tubes while auxiliary fans are in operation should include identifying: 
  • safe operating ranges of auxiliary fans for workers installing the tube
  • determination of the VIV settings of the fan which is dependent on the length of ducting and sequence of development
  • the sequence of steps to take, in order to safely add ducting inline.

Dangerous incident | IncNot0038475

Open cut coal mine 
Summary: A dozer driver has connected with the bucket of an excavator as the dozer operator was doing a push across the face. The excavator operator placed the bucket on the bench for the dozer to push across the face. As the dozer pushed past the face, the excavator operator placed the bucket into the dig behind the dozer.  The dozer operator reversed the dozer contacting the back of the bucket. No one was injured.
Comments to industry:  Mine operators should remind all equipment operators of the importance of positive communication across all parts of the mine site. Dozer operators should make positive communications with excavators before entering any excavator swing radius. Mine operators should consider proximity awareness technologies for high interaction areas.

Dangerous incident | IncNot0038503

Underground coal mine 
Summary: Three mine workers were travelling through an outbye section of the mine when they smelled smoke. They doubled back and discovered a flat return roller emitting smoke and sparks on the outbye side of the drivehead of the belt. The workers turned off the belt and went to find an extinguisher. When they returned to extinguish the fire, they observed a six to eight inch flame at the end of the roller.
Comments to industry:  Mine operators must ensure that stringent monitoring and quality control of maintenance and repair activities are undertaken to prevent fires on conveyors. Enough time and resourcing must be allocated for inspection, maintenance and repair of conveyors considering the length and complexity of the conveyor system.
Maintenance frequency of rollers and pulleys must consider areas of high tension in the conveyor system.

Dangerous incident | IncNot0038460

Underground coal mine 
Principal mining hazard: Roads or other vehicle operating areas
Summary: An agitator truck was reversing up a decline when a four inch polypipe pushed in the back window of the cab. The truck was keeping to one side of the path to avoid a drain on the other side. It appears that the corner of the cab caught the end of a disconnected sandfill poly line which then travelled across the back of the cab and pushed the window in. The glass did not shatter. The operator was uninjured.
Comments to industry:  Open-ended, low-hanging pipes are an easily identifiable hazard and present an unacceptable risk to vehicle operators. Mine operators should have controls in place to eliminate/mitigate risks that can arise from such a hazard, such as hanging the pipes at a height where they do not align with the travel path of a vehicle.

Other publications of interest

These incidents are included for your review. The NSW Resources Regulator does not endorse the findings or recommendations of these incidents. It is your legal duty to exercise due diligence to ensure the business complies with its work health and safety obligations.

International (fatal) 

Publication: MSHA
Confined space – Safety Alert
Between 2017 and 2020, three miners were fatally injured after entering confined spaces to clear material and obstructions. These confined spaces included a sand and gravel bin, a sand-filled hopper, and a cone crusher. All three miners were engulfed by falling material.

Publication: MSHA
Mine fatality – On 9 October 2020, a contractor was changing the nozzle on a hydroseeder and accidentally engaged the hydroseeder’s clutch while the nozzle was pointing towards him.  The material sprayed from the nozzle struck him, causing him to fall backward and strike his neck on the hydroseeder handrail.

Publication: MSHA
Mine fatality – On 13 October 2020, a miner died after being struck by a battery-powered scoop. He had parked his shuttle car in an intersection and was exiting when a scoop went through a ventilation curtain in an adjacent crosscut and struck him.
International (other non-fatal) 

Publication: MinEx NZ
Cutting edge falls and injures worker
A worker was changing the cutting edge on a loader bucket. As he removed the last bolt the cutting edge fell to the ground, bounced, and struck him on the leg, causing a graze and a bruise.
National (fatal) 

Publication: SafeWork NSW
Truck driver crushed by excavator bucket
A truck driver was fatally crushed while unloading a 400-500 kilogram excavator sieve bucket from a semi-trailer. The bucket was lashed to the semi-trailer. When the chains holding the bucket were released, the bucket slid and toppled off the truck, crushing the worker between the bucket and a bridge beam on the ground next to the truck.
National (other non-fatal) 

Publication: Mineral Mines and Quarries Inspectorate QLD
Incident periodical – August - significant safety incidents that have occurred recently in the mineral mines and quarries sector.
ISR20-43 | Go to website


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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