Coal mine conveyor accident narrowly avoided

The NSW Resources Regulator has recommended further maintenance and testing of remote isolation systems following a dangerous incident at an underground coal mine.

The incident involved a remote isolation system activating a belt where an unaccounted person was standing due to a faulty remote isolation point.

This occurred during a maintenance event where two separate maintenance crews were working at the underground coal mine’s long wall belt.

The first crew (at point five) isolated and locked out using a remote isolation system, while the second crew (at point three) did the same at a separate location in the underground mine.

According to the Regulator, a worker from the first crew called the control room operator to start the belt when they removed their locks and isolation.

When the belt started, a person from the second group was standing on the belt.

No injuries occurred, as another worker pulled the lanyard which operated a switch and stopped the belt.

A preliminary investigation from the Regulator has uncovered that the remote isolation point had internal damage which made it ineffective.

The Regulator has encouraged mines to review the maintenance and testing of remote isolation systems.

“Workers should be trained to identify when remote isolation has been successfully applied and when it has failed,” the Regulator stated.

The event occurred in the week ending July 2, 2021 when 32 incidents were reported in New South Wales.

In May, a dozer and excavator collided at the Maules Creek coal mine in New South Wales.

An investigation from the NSW Resources Regulator said the mining sequence was altered which caused the dozer blade and excavator to collide.

A dump truck’s rear wheels plunged into the ground at an open cut coal mine while tipping a load at a New South Wales coal mine, which also occurred in May.

 

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