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Incident | Man basket drops to the ground

man basket incident

The NSW Resources Regulator has reported an incident that occurred at an underground metals mine. Two electricians were in a man basket, attached to the extended boom of a telehandler, while the basket dropped to the ground. When the boom was extended, the telehandler overbalanced, causing the basket to drop to the ground and the rear of the telehandler to lift. The basket dropped approximately 3.5 metres at a slow rate. The outriggers of the telehandler had not been extended due to the tight working location.

The Regulator said before completing a task, a risk assessment tool must be used, and control measures put in place for identified risks. If identified controls such as outriggers are installed and cannot be used, additional control measures must be identified and implemented through a risk management process. Operators must be trained in identifying when risk is present and how to control the risk. OEM recommendations must be taken into account when developing procedures for tasks.

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A worker at a quarry in NSW had a lucky escape when he fell from an access platform that was being constructed. According to reports, the worker was not wearing fall protection at the time of the incident. A fall from height is a known cause of workplace fatalities across Australia.

The NSW Resources Regulator has once again alerted the industry to work at heights risk in a safety bulletin. The regulator said that the “hazards of working at heights and the appropriate use of working at heights equipment was highlighted when a quarry worker fell more than 7 m during the construction of a guardrail on a conveyor gantry.”

“The worker involved was not wearing working at heights equipment at the time of the incident.” the regulator said.

The regulator outlined the scenario leading up to the incident.

At 3.15pm on Tuesday 25 September 2018 two quarry workers were completing the construction of an access platform and guardrails onto a sand conveyor gantry.

The workers were on a platform at the end of the conveyor gantry. One worker had just tack welded the final two horizontal bars of galvanised steel guard rail. As they repositioned themselves on the walkway, the second worker put his hand out onto the top guard rail which had just been tacked into position.

The weld holding the top guard rail failed. The second worker fell from the conveyor gantry taking both the top and mid guard rails with him. The worker fell 7.3 metres and landed horizontally face down into a 200 mm deep sand pile adjacent to an elevated work platform (EWP) basket. The second worker suffered a cut nose but was conscious, winded and in shock.

The worker was admitted to hospital overnight and was released the next day.

Following the incident a Resources Regulator inspector attended the incident and the mine operator also undertook an investigation.

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AMSJ April 2022