Safety recommendations follow longwall fatality

QUEENSLAND’s Department of Natural Resources and Mines has released initial safety recommendations to the industry following the December fatality at the Grasstree longwall mine.
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Blair Price

The department provided a bit more background to the accident where a Valley Longwall International contractor was fatally struck by a large piece of rib material underground.

“At the time of the incident, two mine workers were preparing an area of the mine for in seam drilling activities,” the department said.

“The fatally injured worker was inserting tubing and grouting holes in preparation for pressure grouting, before a methane drainage standpipe was installed.”

While the mines inspectorate’s nature and cause investigation needs to establish all contributing factors to the accident, some recommendations have already been released.

Mine site senior executives were told to:

  • Ensure mine roadways are supported as a minimum in accordance with the support rules determined by the underground mine manager
  • Conduct an audit of underground roadways where personnel are expected to work or travel to ensure older supports are still effective and compliant
  • Ensure a risk assessment is conducted before doing work that may interfere with the effectiveness of the supports
  • Ensure effective workplace inspections are conducted before starting work.

    • Ensure statutory officials are informed at the start of shift of all work activities being conducted in the area under their control
    • Ensure the contractor management procedures are effective in controlling, monitoring and assessing all activities undertaken by contractors at the mine.

    Official findings into the accident could still be years away. Anglo American re-opened the longwall operation at the beginning of 2015.

    The Grasstree mine was also rocked by an earlier fatality in May 2014 when a worker was believed to have been asphyxiated by noxious gas.

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