The 2014 coal burst incident occurred during underground development operations at the Austar mine involving a continuous bolter miner. Tragically, two employees died at the scene.
As a result, Austar committed to implementing an advanced protective system to its entire continuous bolter miner fleet.
Equipment manufacturers across the globe were contacted to source and supply a system to meet Austar's desired safety specifications, however, it became apparent no solution met the desired specifications or standards.
Austar committed to working with Sandvik to develop a world first system to provide the level of protection deemed necessary for operators.
The solution involved increasing the number and capacity of rib shields fitted to Sandvik bolter miners to provide a protective envelope for operators. Load capacity was increased from 4 tonnes to 35t.
The protective system has been in operation at Austar's mine since it was developed.
This safety innovation has been so successful in providing greater protection for bolter miner operators that Sandvik now offers it as an option for all new and overhauled machines.
Austar's rib protection system is a finalist in the safety excellence category of the NSW Health, Safety, Environment and Community awards.