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Mines safety alert no. 319 | 28 October 2015 | Version 1

Dragline and cable tractor interaction

What happened?

Since a safety newsflash on dragline and cable tractor interaction was sent to surface coal mines in July 2015, another serious interaction has occurred. A cable tractor operator did not realise he was within the swing arc of the dragline revolving frame and contact was made. The dragline operator was not aware the cable tractor was operating so close by and did not realise the machines had collided until the cable tractor operator extricated himself from his damaged machine (see image below) and operated the dragline warning siren. Fortunately, the cable tractor operator was not injured.


As part of a risk assessment process, consider:

  •  the use of proximity detection technology.
  • a review of existing control processes, including all interaction between draglines, machinery and personnel.
  • establishing physically demarcated restricted hazard zones.
  • draglines not operating when cable tractors are within the demarcated zone.
  • ensuring positive radio communications.
  • using cameras to assist the dragline operator's view of blind spots.
  • training and assessment.
  • processes for monitoring the effectiveness of controls and compliance to procedures.

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.


  • Possible collision between draglines and cable tractors, or any machinery operating within the swing radius of an operating dragline, was a potential hazard.
  • In the last 2 years, 11 collisions between draglines and cable tractors have been reported to the Mines Inspectorate; 6 of these since January 2015.
  • The risk from draglines to pedestrians and to cable tractor, dozer and service vehicle operators is largely managed through a series of administrative controls. Few if any higher order controls (such as elimination, substitution or engineering controls) are in place.

Authorised by Neil Reynoldson - A/Manager Safety and Health, Central Region

Contact: Neville Atkinson, Inspector of Mines , +61 7 4936 0130

Issued by Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines

Placement: Place this announcement on noticeboards and ensure all relevant people in your organisation receive a copy.