An industry regulator released steps every employer should follow to minimise workplace deaths in Central Queensland’s Isaac region.
Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ) recently urged all mining companies to review their safety and health management system (SHMS), and ensure it contains “effective preventive critical controls for lifting and managing suspended loads”.
“Verify the SHMS provides for mitigating critical controls, to ensure coal mine workers are not in the line of fire of any actions resulting from an uncontrolled movement of a suspended load,” RSHQ chief coal inspector Peter Newman said in a safety notice.
“Verify that coal mine workers required to conduct lifting activities have the appropriate demonstrated competencies relevant to the environment in which the task is being undertaken.”
The remarks came as official investigations continue into Gavin Feltwell’s fatal head injury at Anglo American’s Moranbah North Coal Mine, 211km southwest of Mackay.
Feltwell died while helping Mastermyne coworkers dismantle underground conveyor equipment on March 25 at about 10pm.
“This required the movement of a suspended load, using block and tackle, lever hoist (cumalong) and slings – [and] the activity at the time of the incident involved a heavy load of an estimated four tonnes,” Newman said.
Emergency services attended the scene but the 59-year-old’s wounds were too critical and he passed away shortly after.
“The load shifted during the activity and resulted in fatal injuries to a coal mine worker,” Newman said.
Anglo’s latest integrated annual report report revealed different employees previously died on the job due to operational leaders, employees and contractors failing to apply safety rules. It also blamed “poor hazard identification and control” plus “non-compliance with critical controls”.
Newman believes site senior executives should do more to “prevent uncontrolled movement of suspended loads” in future.
“The suspended load shifted in an uncontrolled manner,” he said. “Inspectors are investigating this accident to identify its nature and cause.”
Anglo has already suspended mining activities and held “Stop for Safety” sessions at Moranbah North in preparation for the probe.
“[These sessions covered] applying critical controls and risk management, including during lifting activities and ensuring we are always maintaining chronic unease,” Australia CEO Tyler Mitchelson earlier said.
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