The driver of a dozer that slide into a waterlogged test hole at Bengalla Mine late last year, was not aware of the danger due to the fact that the hole was unmarked and that water from heavy rain masked the location and depth of the hole, according to an investigation into the incident.
NSW Trade & Investment Mine Safety has published an Investigation Information Release into the incident that occurred in November of last year at Bengalla Mine, outside of Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley.
The investigation found that neither the dozer driver, night-shift supervisor or oncoming day-shift supervisor had been informed that the test hole had been dug or that the test hole windrow had previously been removed to help water from recent heavy rain drain from the trench.
The test hole had been dug two days earlier into a 5 metre thick overburden bench in an active mining area to determine the depth to coal.
Heavy rain occurred on the previous shift and continued on the day of the incident, which filled the test hole. The dozer driver escaped the flooded cabin by levering the door handle with his foot.
The investigation found there were no physical means of identifying the test hole or safeguards for the open hole such as guideposts, marking devices, GPS logging and recording, lighting tower or warning signs.
Further information on the incident is available in the Investigation Information Release