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The most common cause of fires on mobile plant

rshq, fire, mine, safety

A new report from the NSW Resources Regulator breaks down the most common locations and causes of fires on mobile plant at mine sites.

The report looked at all 190 notified incidents of fires on mobile plant that occurred across the state between financial year 2022-2023.

There was an eight per cent decrease in mobile plant fire incidents compared to the previous year. Despite the decrease, the number of incidents was still the third highest recorded over the last nine years.

Roughly 73 per cent of these incidents in FY23 occurred at surface coal mines, which is lower than the previous year at 76 per cent.

There were 29 mobile plant fire incidents at underground metals mines, eight at surface metals mines, seven at construction materials mines, three at underground coal mines, and three at mineral sands mines.

In response to these incidents, the Resources Regulator issues 13 notices. This was a 160 per cent increase from the five notices issued in FY2022. And for the first time since 2019, notices were issued in four separate categories (improvement notices, notices of concern, prohibition notices and non-disturbance notices).

The most common cause of these fires was the combination of the exhaust system as heat source and hydraulic oil as fuel source, accounting for 17 per cent of all incidents.

The second most common were turbo system and engine oil, and electrical component and electrical insulation materials.

Below is a table taken directly from the report going into further detail.

Image: Fires of Mobile Plant 2022-2023, NSW Resources Regulator p14.

The hose was the most common single failed component in FY2023, being involved in 18 per cent of mobile plant fire incidents.

The most common combinations of failed component and cause of component failure in FY2023 were ‘hose’ and ‘wear and tear’, accounting for 13 incidents, and ‘hose’ and ‘fatigue’, accounting for 11 incidents. These combinations accounted for 13 per cent of all such incidents in FY2023.

The report showed that a handheld fire extinguisher was the most common method of extinguishment for fires on mobile plant at 45 per cent in FY2023. This was followed by a manually deployed fire protection system at 23 per cent. Roughly 11 per cent of fires self-extinguished.

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