Regulator investigating near miss at Qld coal mine

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A near miss recently occurred during night shift at a Queensland coal mine, prompting a review from the state’s resources health and safety regulator, Resources Safety & Health Queensland.

The trainee was operating a DK90 rotary blasthole drill rig when the rig got trammed onto the highwall edge protection berm when relocating hole positions.

By the time the operator had stopped tramming, the nose of the tracks had reached the top of the berm, resulting in the operator’s cab being suspended past the edge of the highwall.

The regulator found two key concerns with the incident.

Firstly, the rig was directly perpendicular on its approach to the highwall berm without considering the edge of the berm.

Secondly, the shape and material of the highwall berm allowed the tracks to readily climb through it.

From these findings, the regulator came up with several recommendations to educate better practice. These included:

  • Drillers should inspect their work area (drill pattern) to identify high-risk areas and safe paths of travel between holes; acknowledging drill cab, mast and highwall positions.
  • Review training and competence arrangements to ensure trainees work under close supervision with high-risk work, until competency is obtained.
  • Supervision and management of trainee drillers should implement controls to manage risks of drilling outside work hours, restrict their work activities and specific task planning inclusive of the drill travel on patterns.
  • Drilling operations near high/low/end walls should be conducted during daylight hours as far as reasonably practicable, with appropriate risk assessment and planning activities in place.

A full list of the recommendations can be found here.

Resources Safety & Health Queensland said it was investigating the incident and would publish further information if it became available.

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