Qld longwall incidents surge

OCTOBER was a dangerous month for Queensland’s longwall sector, with three people knocked to the ground in a separate incident to the recent scare at Vale’s Carborough Downs.
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Carborough Downs, image courtesy of Vale.

Blair Price

Detailed briefly in the monthly Queensland Mines Inspectorate compilation report, a powered roof support toppled onto its side in the longwall maingate at an undisclosed mine.

“A worker standing on the support foot platform fell over while three other workers standing nearby were struck by the attached hydraulic hoses and were knocked to the ground,” the inspectorate said.

As previously covered on ILN, a man was knocked unconscious at Carborough Downs during a training exercise on October 24.

The inspectorate shed some more light on the cause.

“A rapid bolting rig mounted on a longwall armoured face conveyor fell over because the retaining plate had not been installed.

“Three workers who were training on the rig sustained minor injuries.”

In another incident, a piece of rock fell from the rib and injured a worker on the forearm while he was rock bolting in the longwall maingate.

One worker was unlucky when he was struck by a piece of rib coal on the lower back while he was tensioning a rockbolt.

It fell between the rib protector and the roof bolter mounted on a continuous miner and gave the worker bruising and minor abrasions.

There was also a concerning case which came from an emergency response exercise.

The inspectorate said a manufacturing fault was discovered in an SSR90 self-contained self-rescuer, causing the life-saving device to malfunction.

There were several incidents relating to flameproof failures in underground coal mines.

The cover was incorrectly installed on the cable reel slip ring enclosure on a shuttle car.

In another shuttle car incident, the operator drove over its trailing cable exposing the conductors.

The flameproof headlight assembly on an ABM20 continuous miner was discovered to be damaged.

Another scare came from damage to a longwall 110-volt primary lighting cable which also exposed conductors.

Perhaps a bigger explosion scare happened at a surface mine when an excavator started digging close to a loaded bench.

This happened because a safety bund was placed at a distance of 2m instead of 10m.

While a lot of fire incidents in Queensland’s mining industry seem to occur in engine bays of surface mobile machinery, recently mineworkers at an underground mine all evacuated to refuge bays after an electrical fault in an underground dewatering pump caused it to start smoking.

In an underground metalliferous mine, a small fire started in the engine bay of a Getman explosives charge car.

At a surface mine, a Caterpillar 777 dump truck operator was surprised when a small fire started beneath the passenger seat. It was caused by a short in the air-conditioner fan.

A maintenance worker was unlucky when he received burns to his hands. He had just lit the connection of an oxy torch and was adjusting the flame when the hose blew off from the handle.

One of the more unusual incidents was a large fall of sand from the mining face into a dredge pond.

The subsequent wave from the pond overturned one of the access float lines, plus a light vehicle parked on the access ramp.

In a similar incident to one that happened in July, a driver of a Caterpillar 789C dump truck lost control and struck a bund when he was reaching for a water bottle in the cabin.