The New South Wales Resources Regulator has asked mine operators to use proximity detection systems after a worker was pressed down by a continuous miner at Centennial Myuna’s Myuna Colliery underground coal mine in New South Wales.
According to the regulator, the mine worker was picking up a feeder cable behind a continuous miner.
This occurred during a bolt installation at the mine, where the injured worker was instructed to pass bolts to the continuous miner operator and shuttle car operation.
The injured worker left the platform of the continuous miner when the left-side bolt storage cassette on the continuous miner required replacing.
Unaware of the injured worker’s location, the continuous miner operator moved the machine towards the centre of the underground roadway.
As the continuous miner turned to the left, the boom was moving in a sideways direction towards the worker and pinning him between the boom and the coal mine’s rib – a pillar that separates one stope from another.
The worker’s body became pinned between the boom of the miner, inflicting serious internal injuries, arm and rib fractures, and was released once the continuous miner operator heard screams.
The injured worker was transported to hospital to undergo surgery.
The regulator has commissioned an investigation into the incident, and its initial inquiries have found the continuous miner did not feature a proximity detection system.
It also found the miner operator was not aware of where the injured worker was just before the accident occurred, while the injured worker was not aware he was close to the boom of the continuous miner.
Safety suggestions given by the regulator include a review of mine operator safety management systems, and the installation of proximity detection systems on continuous miners.
“Proximity detection systems significantly reduce the risk of death or serious injury caused by workers being pinned or crushed around continuous miners,” the regulator stated.
The regulator also encouraged operators to ensure workers are regularly trained for the hazards of working around continuous miners.