The New South Wales Resources Regulator has encouraged mine operators to ensure risks associated with the use of conveyor systems are eliminated wherever possible after a worker was injured after falling in a conveyor chute at Thuddungra Mine about 30km northwest of Young.
The incident occurred when the worker was inspecting a suspected blockage in a conveyor chute when he slipped and fell into the chute.
Rock fed from an adjacent hopper almost entirely covered the worker before two workers responded and were able to extract him by digging with their hands and a pick.
The worker was subsequently admitted to hospital suffering from rib fractures and internal injuries.
According to the Regulator, an investigation to determine the cause and circumstances of the incident has commenced which will consider the design of the equipment, instruction, training and supervision of the workers involved, as well as the adequacy of policies and procedures relevant to the incident.
The Regulator stated that mine operators are reminded of their duty to identify hazards and manage risks to health and safety in accordance with the provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Act 2013 and regulations.
It recommended that operators ensure they have identified and assessed all hazards associated with the use of conveyor systems, ensure emergency stop devices are maintained and tested regularly, and ensure that the areas around conveyor systems are well maintained and effectively drained.
The Regulator also recommended the operators supervise workers when working near dangerous equipment such as conveyors and reciprocating feeders, as well as regularly consult with workers to identify if dangerous practices are being used.
Workers are encouraged to ensure that guarded equipment is fully isolated before guards are opened or removed and to never climb on or near conveyor systems.
The Regulator also recommended that workers ensure that positive communication is maintained whenever dangerous tasks are being undertaken.