Summary: A fire occurred on a collapsed conveyor return idler on the main truck belt in an underground coal mine. The outbye deputy smelled smoke and went with another deputy to identify the source. They found fines burning under the collapsed return idler. They put stone dust on the fire, which flared it up. The deputy then went and got a water hose to extinguish the fire.
Recommendations to industry:
- Ensure conveyor idlers are designed with the appropriate life for the intended duty.
- Install carbon monoxide monitoring or particulates of combustion sensors to assist in the early detection of a fire. Use appropriate trigger action response plans.
- Ensure that a water source is readily available to quickly extinguish a fire.
- Check defected conveyor idlers in a timely manner and carry out conveyor inspections regularly.
- Consider the recommendations in MDG 1032 and AS/NZS 4024.3611