Rockfall injures QLD jumbo operator

The Queensland Mineral Mines and Quarries Inspectorate has called on mining companies to carry out all underground plant equipment inspections beneath supported ground after a jumbo operator was injured.

The worker suffered a broken rib while inspecting a hydraulic leak at a Queensland mine, when he was struck by a rock that fell from an unsupported part of the incline roof.

The operator had retracted both booms on the plant so they were positioned within the last row of fully installed split sets supporting the ground.

However, the mesh sheeting was only partially secured. When the rock dislodged, it hit the raised left-hand boom and deflected onto the operator, hitting the back of his shoulder.

Due to the insufficient separation between fully supported and non-supported ground on the incline, the rock fell into the path of the employee.

The inspectorate also attributed the accident to the heavy mobile equipment being prepared for maintenance too close to unsupported ground.

“Prior to servicing, inspecting or maintaining plant underground, the plant must be withdrawn to a safe location under supported ground,” the inspectorate stated.

“The distance of withdrawal from unsupported ground should be defined in the plant’s operating procedure.

“Workers carrying out ground support activities in front of the operator’s cabin should be trained how to ‘read the ground’ and always be vigilant for rockfall hazards from any nearby unsupported ground.”

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