Qld safety scares

UNDERGROUND coal mines largely avoided serious safety incidents last month, unlike the rest of Queensland’s mining industry which featured dump truck spin-outs, various fire incidents and a snake attack.
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Blair Price

In the monthly Queensland Mines Inspectorate compilation report, one of the more unexpected incidents involved a drilling rig overshooting the planned depth and intersecting old mine workings on a coal mine lease.

Other incidents in the underground coal scene included the discovery that the engine explosion protection exhaust on a PJB transporter was only loosely bolted on.

A large piece of stone flung off by an operating continuous miner also damaged the flame-protected enclosed window covering of an hour meter for the adjacent coal hauler.

Another incident had 1.5 tonnes of rock falling onto the boom of a shotcreting rig after the first coat of shotcrete was applied.

In a separate incident underground, a Sandvik ED7 coal loader unexpectedly raised its bucket and the load to the roof when the bucket crowd function was started.

A group of 16 workers had a scary ride in an underground mine when the shaft cage they were in tripped about 200m below the surface.

While the fault that halted the cage was being fixed, the brakes became released and the cage unexpectedly shot back up the shaft.

“The cage stopped just below the surface when the emergency brake was activated,” the inspectorate said.

In July, a light vehicle lost a rear wheel as it was entering a crib room car park of an open cut coal mine.

Last month, a light vehicle was travelling down a ramp when it lost a rear wheel that continued to roll down the ramp for 250m.

In an underground hard rock mine, a Normet charge car – used for carrying explosives and setting up the charges – rolled “uncontrolled” down an underground ramp for 150m.

The charge car had shut down due to low radiator fluid, and there was a delay in applying the secondary brake.

“The operator jumped clear,” the inspectorate said.

Workers were also evacuated from an underground metalliferous mine after a generator that supplied power to the primary ventilation fans caught on fire.

Separate cases of oil coming in contact with turbos started fires in a Cat D10 dozer, a Komatsu 930SE dump truck and a Cat 854G dozer.

A 226-tonne Cat 793 dump truck also collided with a road dividing bund after the driver fell asleep during night shift.

A 360t Cat 797 dump truck lost traction on an overwatered section or a ramp during a night shift and slid for about 50m before turning 90 degrees and hitting a safety bund.

A smaller Komatsu 630 dump truck turned 180 degrees and slid for 20m when travelling down a ramp with the offside tyres coming into contact with a wet uphill haul side.

The inspectorate said a light vehicle rolled over after it turned a right-hand bend on a service road and mounted the left-hand bund.

This was a separate incident to the four-wheel drive rollover on the last day of August, which killed a contractor, 55-year-old James Brunswick, and injured three others at Wesfarmers’ Curragh mine.

One of the injuries last month came from a worker who fell 1.8m from a work platform, receiving a head laceration and contusion.

A snake also bit a contract worker on the leg while he was using a whipper snipper.

In a workshop incident in the industry, a worker using a pedestal drill press was pulled into the drill when his glove got caught on the rotating chuck.

“His head contacted the drill and his shirt which also caught on the chuck was ripped off,” the inspectorate said.

“Unable to engage the emergency stop he called out to a worker nearby who turned the drill off. The operator sustained injuries to his hand and face.”