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Contract maintainer pinned under a cab

Maintainer stuck under cab

The NSW Resources Regulator has published advice for miners following a contract maintainer being pinned under a cab at a Limestone mine near Tamworth in NSW (See the original report here).

The incident resulted in upper body soft tissue injuries injuries to the miner. he was transported to hospital following the incident.

The incident highlights the grave danger that maintainers can be exposed to when entering crush zones, particularly under cabs that are only supported by hydraulic rams.

The Incident (Excerpt from Regulator’s report)

The incident occurred at approximately 11:50 am on 30 November 2020. A contract maintenance worker attended the site to service a Volvo L220H loader in the mine’s service bay. The worker was tasked with changing cab mounts on the loader and needed to raise the cab to access components underneath it.

The worker consulted Volvo’s procedure for raising the cab which required the worker to utilise a manual hydraulic pump to raise the cab to a level where it could be secured with a purpose-built locking pin fitted to the frame of the loader. However, because the wiring harness and straps of an aftermarket device fitted under the cab structure were too short, the maintenance worker needed to disconnect the harness and straps to enable the cab to be raised.

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Despite disconnecting the harness and straps, the worker did not raise the cab to its normal lock out position due to his perception that further harnessing and hoses were interfering with the cab being raised. He conducted the servicing work with the cab supported only by the hydraulic ram with no locking pin in place.

There was otherwise no procedure that took account of any inability to raise the cab to the level of the locking pin by mandating, for
example, the use of a secondary cabin support device.

Thereafter, when the work was complete, the worker partially lowered the cab in order to reconnect harnessing and straps. The worker again relied upon the single hydraulic ram to hold the cab structure in position while he entered the crush point under the cab to reconnect a strap without using a secondary cab support device.

The hydraulic ram suddenly released causing the cab to lower onto the worker’s upper body and trap him between the cab and the chassis.

NSW Resources Regulator

The worker was freed from underneath the cab with the assistance of nearby mine workers. He sustained soft tissue injuries and was transported to the hospital for medical review. Post-incident testing identified that the hydraulic control system would release unexpectedly and allow the cab to descend if the cab structure was bumped with adequate force while in the near lowered
position (when raised approximately 350mm).

You can download the full report into the incident here

Image: NSW Resources Regulator

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