Industry Safety Bulletin, News, Underground operations

Warnings after miner sprayed with high-pressure hydraulic oil

oil, hydraulic, machine, miner

Safe to Work takes a look at the need-to-know safety incidents that occurred across the mining sector this week.

An operator of a continuous miner was sprayed in the face and neck with hydraulic oil at an underground coal mine this week. According to the NSW Resources Regulator, the operator was on the platform of the machine standing roughly 900mm from where the fluid ejected.

The retraction hose, which operates at 2000psi, failed. The spiral wrap guarding did not adequately protect the hose from rubbing on the edge of a metal plate, which caused it to degrade. The failure of these two components caused hydraulic fuel to spray from the machine and come into contact with the operator.

Pressurised fluid injuries are a major hazard on mine sites.

“All mines should include the management of hazards associated with high-pressure fluid systems as an integral part of their mine safety management system,” the regulator said.

“Mine operators must ensure that hydraulic systems are maintained appropriately to prevent loss of hydraulic fluid under pressure.

“Controls such as shielding must be considered to protect workers from the risk of fluid release near a workstation or areas where people are likely to be working.”


A drill hole has caught fire at an underground metals mine in NSW this week. When a jumbo operator finished drilling a coal face from top to bottom, the face required clean up.

A loader came and cleaned up the area by carrying away the loose rock. However, when the operator scraped the bottom of the face to remove the rock, the operator heard a noise and noticed flame coming from a drill hole on the face.

“Mine operators must implement controls to ensure that the risk of gas ignition from a spark while scraping a face does not occur,” the regulator said.

“Where there is a high likelihood of gas being present in an underground metal mine, the mine should stipulate in a procedure that gas readings must be taken at specified intervals and before scraping the face.”

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