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Mine Worker Walks Away After Six Metre Fall Incident

A Significant Incident Report has been issued after a worker at a WA mine lost his balance on a mobile screening plant and fell over six metres to the ground.

A Significant Incident Report has been issued after a worker at a WA mine lost his balance on a mobile screening plant and fell over six metres to the ground.

The incident happened after a supervisor climbed the steelwork above an elevated platform and handrail to inspect the headchute inspection hatch of a mobile screening plant.

As the supervisor opened the headchute inspection door, which weighs more than 10 kilograms, it came away from its hinge pins and fell onto the elevated platform. The supervisor then lost his balance and fell backwards over the top handrail onto the conveyor, about 3 metres below, and then to the ground, a further 3.5 metres again.

Fortunately, the worker was (miraculously) not injured.

The Significant Incident Report, issued by WA’s Resources Safety said there were a number of factors that led to the incident.

Firstly, the design of the mobile screening plant does not offer safe access to the headchute inspection hatch — the hatch cannot be reached while standing on the elevated platform.

Secondly, the inspection door’s design allows it to easily detach from its hinge pins.

Thirdly, the supervisor was working at height without fall protection.

Resources Safety is recommending that mine operators should:

  • ensure workers are trained to identify fall-from-height hazards they might encounter
  • review elevated screen plants and conveyor systems to identify all reasonably foreseeable hazards, including specific tasks that expose workers to the risk of falling from height
  • conduct a risk assessment to identify hazards and reduce worker exposure, so far as is practicable review and, where necessary, update site procedures to ensure controls are adequately documented in the safety management system, including the need for specific risk assessments when working at height.

Resources Safety does not release the name of the mine or the date of the incident in their Significant Incident Reports.

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