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Coal Inspectorate | Alert | No.442 V 1 | 08 December 2023

Uncontrolled movement of remote-controlled mining equipment

What happened?

A number of incidents have occurred recently in underground coal mines where remote-controlled mining equipment has continued operation for a short period of time without ceasing operation on command.

How did it happen?

In one incident, coal mines workers (CMWs) had been operating remote-controlled mining equipment and were using the function on the remote. The machine continued to operate for a short period of time resulting in an unplanned movement/failure to stop.

Key issues

The remote-control actuators were found to be stuck in the operating position due to the ingress of foreign material into the remote-control actuators.


Sites should:

  • review the process for pre-operational testing and visual inspection of the remote controllers.
  • remove remote controllers that have damage to the ingress protection of the actuators from service even if the pre-operational function tests are acceptable.
  • ensure CMWs are trained to identify that any defects to the ingress protection of the remote-control actuators require it not to be used until the defect is rectified.
  • maintain remote controllers at a frequency as per site and original equipment manufacturer maintenance requirements (checklists and work orders).
  • ensure pre-operational checks for testing and visual inspection of remote controllers are in place.
  • ensure remote controllers are turned off when not in use.

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.

References and further information

AS/NZS 4240 Remote control systems for mining equipment

Authorised by Jacques le Roux - Chief Inspector – Coal

Contact: Greg Napper, Inspector of Mines (Electrical) , +61 7 3199 8001

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.