Industry Safety Bulletin, News, Safety events and incidents, Surface operations

Near miss “a timely reminder” of the dangers of moving equipment

dragline, accident, moving equipment, injury

A coal miner in Queensland has avoided serious injury after being struck by a rotating dragline – a type of large excavator used in surface mining – while conducting cable relocation works.

The worker had just completed works within the operational swing boundaries of the excavator when he was struck by the rotating vehicle. Preliminary investigations from Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ) suggest that the worker re-entered or remained in the swing zone when the dragline became operational, as they were checking the clearance between the shoe and the cable.

The worker was subsequently struck by the dragline light on the underside of the house area. Fortunately, the worker walked away without serious injury.

Others in similar situations have been less fortunate. In late 2021, a worker suffered fatal injuries at a Bowen Basin mine while conducting cable relocation works on a dragline.

Similarly to the present case, the worker either remained in or re-entered the operational swing boundary when the dragline became operational. The worker was struck by the propel shoe, subsequently losing his life.

While RSHQ continues to investigate the present incident, the regulator has emphasised the importance of communication between machine operators and workers on the ground.

“The incident is… a timely reminder that mine personnel should ensure effective controls are in place to manage risks associated with moving equipment, such as draglines,” RSHQ said.

“This may include ensuring the system provides adequate supervision for anyone undertaking work in the vicinity of operational swing boundaries of draglines.

“And ensuring that all of the mine’s implemented safety systems are operational, like proximity detection.”

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