NSW Regulator warns against plant maintenance hazard

A contract maintenance worker has sustained injuries after a workplace accident at Graymont’s Attunga open cut limestone mine near Tamworth, New South Wales.

The worker was trapped in a crush point underneath a Volvo L220H loader cab, which had been previously raised for maintenance.

The cab was relying on a single hydraulic strut with no secondary cabin support device, when it unexpectedly released and fell onto the worker’s upper body.

The contractor experienced soft issue injuries and was transported to the hospital.

The accident occurred in late November.

“… Because the wiring harness and straps of an aftermarket device fitted under the cab structure were too short, the maintenance worker needed to disconnect the harness and straps to enable the cab to be raised,” the New South Wales Resources Regulator stated in an investigation report.

“… He conducted the servicing work with the cab supported only by the hydraulic ram with no locking pin in place.

“There was otherwise no procedure that took account of any inability to raise the cab to the level of the locking pin by mandating, for example, the use of a secondary cabin support device.”

Post-incident testing identified that the hydraulic control system would release unexpectedly and allow the cab to descend if the cab structure was bumped with adequate force while in the near lowered position, according to the regulator.

It recommended mine operators and maintenance contractors to never enter crush points under suspended loads where they are not adequately supported.

“Mine workers and contractors should never place a body part in a crush point under a suspended load without secondary support devices, such as locking pins, support bars and timber chocks, being provided,” the regulator stated.

The Attunga mine uses drilling and blasting mining methods to produce limestone feed for the on-site processing plant.

It is located around 20 kilometres northwest of Tamworth.

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