Mining sector enacts safety measures after earthquake

Map view of Australia on a geographical globe.

Victoria was hit with a magnitude 5.9 earthquake on Wednesday last week, prompting the suspension of operations at the Woods Point gold project and A1 mine.

Located 60 kilometres south of the estimated epicentre near Mansfield, nine workers were underground at the Woods Point project when the earthquake hit.

All personnel were reported safe and accounted for following the incident.

The A1 mine, operated by Kaiser Reef, had 11 employees working underground at the time of the earthquake, with all of them evacuated safe and sound.

Safety inspections were carried out at both mines to determine the extent of the damage.

The operator of Woods Point, White Rock Minerals, released a statement on Friday saying that operations had recommenced at the site.

“Inspections of the mine site, above ground and underground, have now been completed. No damage was evident resulting from the earthquake,” White Rock said in a statement.

“Mine operations, above ground and underground, have now re-commenced.”

WorkSafe Victoria has released a list of considerations for those engaging in any recovery work post-earthquake.

With the potential of hidden damage and aftershocks still a possibility, those undertaking immediate clean-up and recovery work are encouraged to take their time.

WorkSafe urge employees to “take time to identify potential hazards and consider how to remove or mitigate the associated risk” before starting any task.

It is important to “ensure work is properly planned and coordinated with regular communication, sufficient supervision and regular rest breaks.”

WorkSafe also advise that equipment should only be used if it “is in good condition, fit for purpose and has appropriate guards in place.”

Workers must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment specific to each task, whether it be boots, gloves, eye and ear protection, hats, sun protective clothing and high visibility vests.

It is also important to ensure the equipment is worn correctly.

WorkSafe outlined a further five recommendations, which are as follows:

“Ensure machinery and vehicle operators are competent and experienced in using specific equipment for the intended task,” WorkSafe advised.

“Clear debris from areas where vehicles are operating, implement traffic management plans.”

“Use powered machinery for lifting large or heavy items.

“Identify any likely asbestos containing materials or dangerous chemicals.

“Ensure children are well supervised and away from areas where work is going on.”

Read WorkSafe’s recommendations here.

Leave a Reply