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RSHQ spots dangerous pattern at Queensland coal mines

03 August 2023

Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ) officials are calling on Queensland coal mines to improve the way they operate articulated mobile cranes, following a spike in incidents.

On Monday 31 July 2023, a coal mine worker in Moranbah was operating an articulated mobile crane, or ‘pick and carry crane’, to lift a container when it fell to its side while turning.

Mobile crane

Then on Tuesday 1 August 2023, a worker in Central Queensland was injured after he was hit in the knee by the load from a moving pick and carry crane, causing a fracture to his leg.

Mobile picker

He was flown to Rockhampton hospital for treatment.

RSHQ has commenced investigations into the cause of both incidents.

Chief Inspector of Coal Mines Jacques le Roux said more coal mine workers are in danger of being seriously hurt if best practice is not implemented.

“There are a number of reasons why we’re seeing more incidents but a big one is operating on uneven ground,” said Mr Le Roux.

“Very few areas on a mine site where articulated mobile cranes are utilised can be considered to be firm, level and uniform.

“Site Senior Executives should consider reducing the crane load capacity to cater for wheel ruts, potholes, protrusions and depressions found on flat mine surfaces.

“It’s also important to have no-go zones in place and enforced, to ensure there are no workers in harm’s way if a load drops from a crane.”

Articulated mobile cranes are widely used in coal mines and are essentially a cross between a truck and a crane, allowing workers to move heavy loads.

If weight is not evenly distributed it often causes rollovers, loads falling, mechanical failures and collisions.

The Crane Industry Council of Australia estimates articulated mobile cranes account for between 64% and 68% of all crane incidents.

RSHQ has an ongoing goal of zero serious harm across all coal mines.

Inspectors will continue to audit sites to improve the safety of all workers.

Media contact

Amy McCann

0457 094 250

Last updated: 03 Aug 2023