High potential incident
A shaft winder at an underground mine tripped. It was initially attributed to a communications fault as a result of a flat battery. In the process of arranging a battery change out, it was identified that 37m of hoist rope was damaged and became knotted and looped on itself. The shaft depth was more than 1000m. An initial investigation found that the cage may have become stuck near the bottom of the shaft and continued to pay out rope.
Recommendations to Industry
Mines with winders must have a principal hazard management plan for mine shafts and winding systems. The plan must address control measures for risks associated with mine shafts and winding systems (clause 3, schedule 1 WHS (MPS) Regulation).
In developing principal hazard management plans, mines should consider:
• the type and adequacy of shaft and winder inspections, including, ropes and attachments, guides to identify damage or areas where a conveyance may bind or become stuck
• maintenance requirements in accordance with the original equipment manufacturer’s recommendations
• testing of safety-related functions in a manner and frequency as required by the designer.