ENVIRONMENT

Contractor crush under investigation

THE New South Wales Resources Regulator has launched an investigation into a November incident at the Attunga limestone mine near Tamworth where a contract maintenance worker was trapped in a crush point underneath a loader cab.

 Simulation of the crush point height and the cab position just prior to the incident.

Simulation of the crush point height and the cab position just prior to the incident.

The worker had been contracted by mine operator Graymont to service a Volvo L220H loader in the mine's service bay and change the cab mounts, which meant he had to raise the cab.

According to the loader's procedure this involved using a manual hydraulic pump to raise the cab to a level where it could be secured with a purpose-built locking pin fitted to the frame of the loader.

However, the wiring harness and straps of a device fitted under the cab structure were too short, so he disconnected the harness and straps and started servicing the loader with the cab supported only by the hydraulic ram, with no locking pin in place.

When he finished the service he lowered the cab partially and entered the crush point under the cab to reconnect the hydraulic hose strap but the hydraulic ram suddenly released, trapping the worker between the cab and the chassis.

Mine workers in a nearby meal room heard his cries for help and freed him from underneath the cab, with the man suffering soft tissue injuries.

The Regulator is looking into the cause and circumstances of the incident, with the focus to be on the design of the equipment, training and supervision of the worker and the adequacy of the mine's policies and procedures.

The Regulator said the mine operator and the injured worker's employer are co-operating with the investigation.

A report will be published when the investigation is complete.

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Volvo L220H loader with the cab in the raised tilted position.

 

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