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Coal Inspectorate | Alert | No.412 V 1 | 08 July 2022

Spinal injury resulting from mobile plant contact

What happened?

The bucket of an excavator working a double bench operation collided with the dovetail of a rear dump truck when swinging towards the truck tray. The excavator was on the lower 3.5m high bench at the time of the incident. The impact caused a significant amount of movement to the truck and injury to the operator. The injured operator received a fracture to the C5 vertebrae, resulting in hospitalisation for a number of days.

How did it happen?

  • The accident occurred mid-way through night shift.
  • The excavator operator had just returned to the bench from a crib break after hot seating with another operator.
  • A change to the dig process was implemented mid-shift by the two excavator operators to minimise leaving a roll while double benching.
  • The bucket of the excavator struck the truck tray dovetail during the second bucket load.

Key issues

  • A change was made mid-shift to the dig process which did not have any applied risk-management processes.
  • The excavator operator was distracted by the change when loading the truck.
  • One of the engines in the excavator was down on RPM due to a wire fault. It is unknown at this time if this contributed to the accident.


All Site Senior Executives should ensure:

  • any changes to dig process are conducted in accordance with the mine’s risk management systems and management of change process
  • methods of operation are risk assessed and documented
  • operators are trained, assessed and competent to operate plant
  • maintenance systems effectively action / repair faults found in plant during servicing. 

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 Peter Newman - Chief Inspector – Coal

Contact: Paul Brown, Inspector of Mines , 0476 836 045

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, understand the content, findings and recommendations as applicable to their operation. SSEs should validate that recommendations have been implemented.