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NSW Regulator reviews serious injury and illness reports

miner transported by ambulance after rockfall

The NSW Resources Regulator advised the Mine Safety Advisory Council (MSAC) that an increase in serious injuries and illnesses reported by mine operators had been identified during data analysis for the Mine Safety Performance report for financial year 2019-20.

Serious injuries analysis by bodily location for the three years from 2017-18 to 2019-20 found:

One-third of all notified injuries – and often double that of any other bodily location –were hand, fingers or wrist injuries.

Forty-five percent of injuries to the hand, fingers or wrist occurred in the underground coal sector, notable increases in injuries to head or neck and upper limbs were also observed in this sector.

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Serious injuries were mainly notified in the Hunter and the South-Eastern regions and in the Hunter, injuries to hand, fingers or wrist doubled from 2017-18 to 2018-19, with only a slight reduction seen in 2019-20.

Almost 80% of all serious injuries notified involved being hit by moving objects or falls, trips and slips of a person, with increases seen in injuries to the head or neck (with a mechanism of being hit by moving objects or hitting objects with a part of the body) and upper limbs (with a mechanism of being hit by moving objects or falls, trips and slips).

During the three-year period, on average the highest proportion of serious injuries occurred between 7 am and 3 pm (day) and 3 pm to 11 pm (afternoon) on weekdays, 53% and 31% respectively. This is likely due to the increased number of workers rostered on the day shift, however, hours worked data to confirm this was not available for this analysis. There was no notable increase or decrease of serious injuries detected in relation to weekend shifts.

The report stated that multiple factors contribute to incident and injury notifications. These include (but are not limited to) inherent risk factors specific to the sector, operation type and mine, and various other internal and external factors. In addition, because of the relatively small sample size, it was not possible to draw any reliable conclusions about the cause of any changes identified during the past three years.

For more information, view the full report here.

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AMSJ Nov 2021