Although Queensland’s underground coal mines reported no fatalities during 2005-06, the Queensland Mines and Quarries Safety Performance and Health Report did not reflect an improvement in safety statistics over the period, despite a continued industry focus on the area.
High potential incidents at underground coal mines included unplanned movement of radio and remote-controlled equipment, two open fires reported on conveyors and an uncontrolled release of methane gas from drainage lines.
The report also found:
- From a workforce of approximately 21,400 employees in the state’s coal mines, 101 lost time injuries were recorded in the underground sector, compared to 87 for 2004-05;
- Underground coal mines posted the highest amount of disabling injuries of any sector at 236, compared to 154 the previous year;
- Lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) per million hours worked in 2005-06 was 12.1 for underground coal mines, compared to 11.8 for the preceding period;
- Severity rate (days lost per million hours worked) was 341 for underground coal mines in 2005-06, compared to 191 for 2004-05; and
- 123 high potential incidents were recorded in underground coal mines, compared to 112 for 2004-05.
However, over all sectors the report shows an improvement in the safety performance at mines and quarries despite increased production, mine expansions and a rapidly increasing workforce.
Keep watching International Longwall News for a closer look at safety trends in underground coal mining.