Mining equipment dangerously swayed after a lapse of judgement.
Authorities recently suspected an incorrect instrument, lack of care and poor leadership of hospitalising a worker at an undisclosed Queensland coal mine.
Night shift employees had tried to replace damaged clips that caused a conveyor belt to trip and fold over itself.
They began unfolding the belt from the outbye conveyor drivehead towards the jib pulley on 7 September 2021. One of them unfolded the conveyor at the jib using pincers and a chain block when the pincers were suddenly freed and belt flipped back under tension.
“The coal mine worker was struck on the side of the head. He fell, landing on the belt with his arm and upper torso – between the guarding and the structure of the outbye conveyor belt,” Resources Safety and Health Queensland’s Coal Inspectorate said in a safety alert.
“An emergency response was initiated and the injured coal mine worker was transported to the hospital.”
Investigators believe the employer should have supplied the correct equipment and taken greater care to ensure crew members were safe.
“There was no evidence that the pincer had been approved for use as a belt pulling tool,” coal chief inspector Jacques le Roux said in the alert.
“Mine risk management procedures were not followed by coal mine workers undertaking the belt turnover recovery. No evidence of relevant stop, look, assess and manage- or job safety analysis- documentation were identified.”
Management also could have been more proactive in revising the job planning process including safety and health management system risk management, risk assessments, isolation and de-energising belts.
“No evidence was provided of senior leadership personnel periodically challenging belt recovery tasks. The exception was in relation to the belt clip replacement being undertaken in the loop take up,” le Roux said.
Site senior executives were urged to take the following steps:
- review inspection plans to ensure adequate and effective supervision is practised at all times
- review procedures for introducing plant to site, particularly assessing fit-for-purpose small tools
- implement effective systems that ensure employees diligently comply with safety and health management system requirements
- review management structures and clarify supervision requirements plus expectations for maintenance and breakdown tasks
- ensure staff are familiar with, and understand mine requirements for, appropriate risk management prior to commencing repair or maintenance work including de-energising and equipment isolation.