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Coal Inspectorate | Alert | No.399 V 1 | 03 November 2021

Coal Mine Worker crushed by moving plant

What happened?

On 30 October 2021, 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.

How did it happen?

The mine’s safety and health management system permitted the work to be conducted under “live testing” protocols. These protocols allowed:

  • the truck operator to be in the cab and the truck to be powered to raise and lower the tub and turn the front wheels; and
  • coal mine workers to operate water cannons in close proximity to the vehicle and inside an area that would ordinarily be an exclusion zone.

The rear dump truck was parked on the workshop washdown pad. The workers conducted a job safety analysis (JSA) for using “live testing protocols” during the washdown task.

Spray from a water cannon being operated by the injured coal mine worker hit an E-Stop on the position 2 wheel side of the engine bay, shutting the engine down. The worker stopped the water cannon and entered the space between the position 2 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. 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.

Figures 1 and 2 show the positions of coal mine workers at the time of the accident.

Key issues

  • The protocols under the mine’s safety and health management system allowed work to be conducted in a dangerous area (inside an exclusion zone).
  • 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.
  • The system failed to ensure that the locations of all coal mine workers were known to each other, meaning they were unable to verify that the injured worker was in a safe location before a truck movement occurred.
  • The work being conducted was a repetitive task for which a JSA is likely not adequate to properly identify and manage risks.

Recommendations

Site senior executives should:

  • Ensure repetitive and routine tasks are the subject of a comprehensive risk assessment to identify and control hazards, including identifying and maintaining appropriate exclusion zones.
  • Communicate this safety alert to coal mine workers.

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.

Coal mine workers should:

  • Never approach within contact distance of mining equipment when the operator is at the controls.
  • Follow the critical controls for conducting work on mining equipment.

Investigations are ongoing and further information may be published as it becomes available. The information in this publication is what is known at the time of writing.

We issue Safety Notices to draw attention to the occurrence of a serious incident, raise awareness of risks, and prompt assessment of your existing controls.

Authorised by Shaun Dobson - Chief Inspector – Coal

Contact: Steve Smith, Regional Inspector of Mines , 0436 658 225

Issued by Resources Safety & Health Queensland

Safety: This information is issued to promote safety through experience. It is not to be taken as a statement of law and must not be construed to waive or modify any legal obligation.
Placement: Place this announcement on noticeboards and ensure all relevant people in your organisation receive a copy.