NSW Resources Regulator releases mine safety performance report

Image: NSW Resources Regulator

The New South Wales Resources Regulator has reported an increase in mine related injuries and deaths in its mine safety performance report for 2018-19.

Fatal injuries increased from zero in 2017-18, to two in the 2018-19 period, according to the report which was released in late August.

This included a contract worker who suffered spinal injuries due to a fall from an elevated work platform in a metalliferous mine, and a tyre maintenance worker who was fatally injured when an earthmoving tyre fell from a tyre handler at the mine’s heavy vehicle wash bay in a coal mine.

Serious injuries rose by 11 in 2018-19 to 93, compared to 82 in 2017-18, while total recordable injuries were “virtually unchanged” with a slight decrease from 975 in 2017-18 to 959 in 2018-19.

The report found that the rolling five-year average serious injury frequency rate was up by 17 per cent to 1.40 compared to the previous year.

It also recorded a 7 per cent increase in the hours worked in the New South Wales coal, metalliferous and extractive sectors, from 64.8 to 69.1 million hours.

The New South Wales Resources Regulator said that while the report does not reveal any risk management measures taken by the injuries, it demonstrates a number of measures to  help guide future actions to improve health and safety performance and to allow industry to benchmark their performance against others in their sector.”

The Regulator also said the most common hazard for serious injury in New South Wales mines since 2009-10 was being ‘hit by moving objects’ and ‘slips, trips and falls of a person’.

“Together, these two mechanisms accounted for 70% of the serious injuries in 2018,” the Regulator said.

In August 2020, the Western Australian Government’s Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRIS) released its quarterly safety performance snapshot of the state’s minerals sector.

The first quarter of 2020 one fatality and 257 serious injuries in the state’s minerals sector. A further 41 minor injuries also occurred.

It found that the most surface mining injuries occurred in processing plant occupations at 23 per cent, and the most underground mining injuries occurred in services occupations at 20 per cent.

The most frequent age range for injures between 40-49 years old, with the overall injury frequency rate decreasing from 6.3 in the October-December 2019 quarter, to 5.8 in the January-March 2020 quarter.