RSHQ recommends risk assessment after incident

Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ) has recommended senior site executives ensure repetitive and routine tasks are the subject of comprehensive risk assessments to identify and control hazards, including identifying and maintaining appropriate exclusion zones, after a coal mine worker was injured by a moving plant. 

According to the RSHQ report, a worker suffered life-threatening injuries in an incident that occurred during a routine wash down of a rear dump truck being undertaken by four coal mine workers. 

The incident occurred when a rear dump truck was parked on the workshop wash down pad, and the workers conducted a job safety analysis (JSA) for using “live testing protocols” during the wash down task. 

Spray from a water cannon being operated by the injured coal mine worker hit an E-Stop on the position-two wheel side of the engine bay, shutting the engine down.  

The worker stopped the water cannon and entered the space between the position-two wheel and the engine to reset the E-Stop. 

It appears neither the truck operator nor other workers were aware of the location of the injured worker, and the truck operator was directed by one of the other workers to turn the front wheels to the left, which resulted in the injured worker being pinned between the tyre and a ladder, causing multiple injuries to his upper body. 

The RSHQ report stated the key issues involved in the incident were that the protocols under the mine’s safety and health management system allowed work to be conducted in a dangerous area (inside an exclusion zone), and that energy was available to turn the front wheels, even when the engine was shut down, meaning the injured worker was exposed to this hazard when in the area. 

It also concluded that the work being conducted was a repetitive task for which a JSA is likely not adequate to properly identify and manage risks. 

The RSHQ also recommends that supervisors should review the work plans of coal mine workers required to conduct maintenance work under live testing protocols and ensure the work plan controls all energy sources. 

The investigation into the incident is ongoing. 

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