Retractable access ladders
Mines safety alert no. 366
What happened:

An operator was fatally injured when he became entangled between the movable part of an excavator’s access ladder and the wall of the engine room. (See Figure 1)

How did it happen? 
Injuries were sustained as a result of entanglement in handrails, following activation of the access ladder emergency release valve.

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Reports of misfires in NZ increase
A worker was excavating shot rock in the pit when  he found an unexploded booster and detonator in the muckpile. The shotfirer was called to investigate and found a cut downline. While the picture (right) is not the incident referred to, a similar incident caused serious damage to a digger and could have seriously injured the operator.

There has been a sharp increase in reported misfires to WorkSafe in recent weeks which could be a result of better reporting, but also is a wakeup call to ensure you are adequately managing and supervising drilling and blasting activities at your site, whether you do the blasting yourselves or employ contractors.

It is also critical to ensure you have a robust misfire procedure in place and that all workers are familiar with the procedure.

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Fatal 6 - Receiving hopper collapse
Sand was being discharged by an articulated tipper truck into the receiving hopper at a Readymix plant. Due to the restricted size of the hopper, only part of the load could be tipped. It is difficult to judge the amount of sand tipped, as it can surge. While the vehicle was tipping off the second part of the load, the hopper supports suddenly gave way and the hopper fell into the pit below, crushing the conveyor structure beneath.

 
 
 

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Safety Bulletin
Lack of bunding on accessible edges

Open edges on stockpiles, tip heads, ramps and dams 
During recent inspections, the NSW Resources Regulator has identified that effective controls are not always in place to protect workers to the exposure of driving off open edges, falling from heights or falling into open bodies of water. Open edges on stockpiles, waste dumps, ramps and dams were frequently identified with absent or inconsistent windrows or bunding in place.

Edge, ramp and tipping bunds/windrows are required to ensure the safety of heavy machinery operators.

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Fatal 6 - Operating close to, or under, suspended loads
During the normal operation of a casting bed cleaner, the water tank of the bed cleaner dropped. Examination revealed that this  was due to a structural failure of the part that supports the rise and maintains the tank in the raised position. The weight of the raised portion of the machine is roughly 5000 kg when fully loaded with water. Nobody was in the immediate vicinity at the time of the failure. However, when cleaning operations take place, this could potentially cause injury to operatives.

 

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MSHA - Mine Fatality
On Wednesday, July 31, 2019, a 62-year-old contractor with 30 years of mining experience sustained fatal injuries when three methane ignitions occurred in an air shaft. The victim and three contractors were preparing to seal the intake air shaft of an underground mine. At the time of the ignitions, the victim was trimming metal so that it would fit inside wooden forms and was in direct line of the ignition forces. 

 
 
 

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Inrush from ventilation shaft

An inrush occurred when developing a roadway connecting a ventilation shaft to the underground workings.  When the roadway broke through into the shaft, a quantity of mud and water still contained in the shaft flowed into the roadway. The face workers retreated from the area without injury.

The mine used small diameter holes, drilled from the roadway into the shaft to attempt to drain the shaft.  When fluid ceased flowing through the drain holes, management gave permission to recommence mining. Water and mud was still contained in the shaft, above the level of the drain holes.

 

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Lost Time Injury - Third-Degree Burn
A welder had just finished welding a 1-inch elbow on a pipe. As he continued to the next weld the workers overalls were touching the hot weld causing his overalls to catch fire. The welder did not realise his clothing was on fire until he smelt his overall burning. He suffered a burn to his left elbow and forearm requiring a skin graft.

The investigation into the incident found that the person was wearing cotton overalls which were loose fitting and a polyester undershirt.

 
 

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MSHA - Mine Fatality
On Wednesday, August 7, 2019, a 42-year-old preparation plant electrician with 15 years of mining experience was electrocuted when he contacted an energized connection of a 4,160 VAC electrical circuit. The victim was in the plant’s Motor Control Center (MCC) adjusting the linkage between the disconnect lever and the internal components of the 4,160 VAC panel supplying power to the plant feed belt motors. 

 
 
 

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