Kestrel lifts in safety awards

THE 2004 Queensland Safety and Health Innovation Awards were announced last week with the Kestrel mine winning recognition for a clever leg lifting device. The annual awards recognise safety innovations developed at mine site level.

Staff Reporter

The Goonyella Riverside Mine - BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance operation – won first place for its removable return roller support frame to help workers replace conveyor rollers. The frame eliminates the need for working at heights and reduces manual handling hazards. The mine also won the judges' and people's choice award.

The award was presented at the Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety conference in Townsville last week by Mines and Energy minister Stephen Robertson.

Second placed in the awards was Anglo Coal's Callide mine for its night-time identification system for water carts.

Rio Tinto Coal Australia's Kestrel mine won third place with its longwall roof support leg lifting device. It enables the controlled removal of roof support cylinders on the surface to reduce the risk of personal injury and equipment damage.

Kestrel typically removes up to 40 roof support legs for refurbishment during longwall relocations. But the removal method using slings was found to be particularly hazardous as it allowed for uncontrolled swinging motion when the leg was removed from the pocket.

This resulted in a high potential for injury to both the worker and bystanders and equipment damage to the leg cylinder, forklift and other components involved in the lift.

Kestrel longwall projects supervisor Darren Morris and contractor Shane Houchen (Mine Tech Services) together designed a device which allowed for controlled removal and installation of the cylinders.

Design drawings of a mechanical lifting device rated for a load of 1500kg were developed and the device was produced. After site installation and trials further modifications were made to the device, including the addition of handles on the clamping section to remove potential pinch points that were identified by operators when installing the clamp section onto the leg. Retaining pins were also added to ensure slippers on fork tynes do not move forward during the removal/installation process.

The outcome has been a simple, yet effective, solution that allows for a safe, controlled, efficient and cost-effective method of removing and installing longwall roof support cylinders during refurbishment. The device can be used at any longwall mine doing bulk leg replacements on the surface.

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