Queensland Mineral Mines & Quarries Inspectorate has published a rockfall incident that caused a jumbo operator suffered a serious injury (broken rib).
According to the report, The jumbo operator was installing the first sheet of mesh in the back of the incline when he noticed a hydraulic leak on the right-hand boom requiring inspection to repair the leak. The operator retracted both booms so they were positioned just inside and beneath the last row of fully installed split sets and mesh. A rock dislodged from the back, slid down over the partially secured sheet of mesh, struck the raised left-hand boom and deflected to the ground, striking the operator on the back of his shoulder.
The investigations have identified the following issues:
- The positioning of heavy mobile equipment being prepared for maintenance activity in relation to the nearby unsupported ground.
- The insufficient separation between the edge of fully supported ground and support being installed on the incline to allow for the trajectory of potential rockfall into the supported ground that is assumed safe.
The Inspectorate recommended, prior to servicing, inspecting or maintaining plant underground, the plant must be withdrawn to a safe location under the supported ground. The distance of withdrawal from the unsupported ground should be defined in the plant’s operating procedure.
Workers carrying out ground support activities in front of the operator’s cabin should be trained how to ‘read the ground’ and always be vigilant for rockfall hazards from any nearby unsupported ground.
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The NSW Resources Regulator has reported an incident occurred at an underground metal mine. An operator was loading a truck at the oxide stockpile when a rock, weighing approximately 20 kilograms, came off the bucket and bounced through the truck side panel window, making contact with the operator. The operator received bruising to the upper arm.
The Regulator said, “mine operators should ensure loader operators are trained in correct bucket loading practice and techniques, including loading perpendicular to the truck where appropriate. Mine operators should ensure that the most suitable plant is used to complete the loading. Introduction to site processes must be in place to ensure the correct equipment is used for each particular application.”