Underground coal mining: A dangerous game

THE latest report from the Queensland Department of Mines and Energy reveals that underground coal mining is one of the most dangerous areas to work in, and that safety statistics in the sector do not seem to be improving.
Underground coal mining: A dangerous game Underground coal mining: A dangerous game Underground coal mining: A dangerous game Underground coal mining: A dangerous game Underground coal mining: A dangerous game

 

Staff Reporter

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.

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