While incidents involving mobile mechanical equipment as well as those caused by electrical energy dropped, 82.3% of all coal incidents occurred in underground operations, according to the annual NSW Department of Trade and Investment mine safety performance report.
There were 927 gas incidents in NSW mines in 2010-11 compared with 799 in 2009-2010, as well as a record number of strata incidents in the past year – 37 compared to 31 in the previous year.
Typically, the gas incidents occurred when the accumulation of gas required the withdrawal of people or resulted in tripping off electric power.
Mobile equipment incidents fell from 1250 to 1089 incidents in 2010-11 while electrical energy incidents dropped marginally from 276 to 261.
“In 2010-11, serious bodily injuries were again predominantly associated with falls of person[s] and fractures were the most common nature of injury,” the report states.
“The majority of serious bodily injuries were to direct mine employees, almost two-thirds occurred in underground operations and almost all were related to the work environment or mobile mechanical plant.
“In 2010-11, the most common causes of injuries with notifiable outcomes (mainly hospital inpatient admission or seven days of lost time and/or alternative duties) were slips and trips, muscular stressing, or being hit by moving or falling objects.
“Hand and finger injuries featured prominently, 81.4% occurred in underground operations and the majority were related to either the work environment or mobile mechanical equipment.”