Partial amputation triggers warning from mine safety regulator
Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ) is urging mine sites to be more hands on when it comes to preventing one of the mining industry's most common incidents.
Since the beginning of 2023, there have been 55 serious incidents reported at Queensland coal mines, and of those, 28 involved fingers.
"It's just not good enough, especially when we know these injuries are preventable," said RSHQ's Chief Inspector of Coal Mines Jacques le Roux.
"Even though these injuries are not life-threatening, they have a serious impact on the lives of workers.
"Because hands are complex body parts, they don't always perform the same way, or as well, after they have been seriously injured, even after rehabilitation."
Recently, a coal miner worker in the Bowen Basin had his finger partially amputated.
The incident occurred on 24 August 2023 when a drill rig operator mistakenly thought their co-worker's hands were clear before starting equipment.
The finger was recovered and taken with the patient to Moranbah hospital.
More than half of serious accidents at Queensland coal mines this year involved fingers.
"Hands are often the body part nearest to a hazard, so risk controls need to focus on lowering the exposure of hands to hazards that can cause serious injury," said Mr le Roux.
A quarter of the reported serious accidents with fingers involve considerable risk activities associated with lifting, slinging and towing.
RSHQ recommends each site implements a "hands free" work initiative.
This means using machinery and appropriate tools where possible to reduce the need for hands around pinch and crush points.
RSHQ also recommends sites review and monitor their management processes, manning-requirements for tasks, and lifting procedures.
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Last updated: 26 Oct 2023