WA mines department sheds light on underground loader accident

The Western Australia Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) has released details involving a fatal accident that involved an operator driving a loader in an underground mine.

The incident occurred in July 2020 when the underground loader fell over the edge of an open stope, causing it to drop 25 metres with the operator sustaining fatal injuries.

According to the DMIRS, the mine had no physical barrier to prevent a LHD falling over the stope edge.

The operator was building a safety bund six metres from the stope edge before the accident occurred.

The DMIRS found the operator’s visibility was limited due to the configuration of the machine.

“This can have implications on an operator’s capacity to see the edge of the open stope as they approach,” the DMIRS stated.

The DMIRS has encouraged the industry to ensure physical barriers, engineered steel or concrete barriers, or steel bollards are implement to prevent manned machines from falling over the edges of open stopes.

Physical barriers should be erected before an open stope is created and requires ongoing maintenance is required.

Barriers should be an appropriate distance from the slope to prevent operators from falling over the edge.

Visual markings are also suggested to identify the distance to the slopes edge.