The NSW Resources Regulator has reported a fire on underground haul truck at a metalliferous mine in the past week. According to the Regulator, a bearing collapsed on the drive train and grease was ignited. No other damage was reported. The manufacturer had previously issued a safety bulletin for upgrades to this bearing.
The Regulator has made a number of recommendations to industry including ensuring that site procedures should include checks to verify that all original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) technical bulletins have been assessed for compliance before starting work.
SB18-14 Preventing fires on mobile plant – responding to safety alerts should be reviewed and confirmed that recommendations have been assessed.
The Regulator said that “The number of reported fires on mobile plant in the metalliferous sector remains too high, consequently, the NSW Resources Regulator is undertaking a priority project in relation to fires on mobile plant in this sector, focusing on maintenance and equipment repair practices.”
Bearing and drive assembly overheating has long been a problem across the mining industry with a range of fire-related incidents on mobile plant being reported for many years. Some with significant consequences. Preventative maintenance and thermography programs can ensure that risks are minimised.
In a past range of mobile plant fire events, a number of factors have been contributory including correct specification hoses and hose fittings, poor cleaning of surfaces that are likely to be affected by flammables such as fuel, oil and some coolant,oil-soaked lagging being left in-situ near hot components. Incorrect fitting of firewalls or firewall components has also contributed to past events.
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