The NSW Resources Regulator has been notified of several recent incidents in which strata failure, particularly rib failures, have resulted in mine workers being placed at risk.
After reviewing these incidents and the circumstances of other recent rib failure events reported to the regulator, contributing factors identified include:
- failure to manage ribs over the lifecycle of the roadway
- inadequate support of ribs especially with changing rib height
- inappropriate support of ribs
- support not installed to prepared support plans
- failure to respond to triggers in the mine TARPs and plans
In each case the potential for fatal injuries existed.
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Recommendations to mines
It is recommended that all underground mines have a strata management plan that includes:
- a risk-based approach for the development of the plan and supporting procedures. This must include ensuring those who contribute to the development of the plan and procedures have appropriate qualifications and experience.
- identification of the correct support to deal with all anticipated strata and mining conditions identified in geotechnical assessments and arising from ongoing monitoring of strata conditions
- appropriate consideration of the type and extent of support to be installed over the full lifecycle of the roadway
- procedures for the control and rectification of deterioration or failure of installed support
- detailed inspection requirements and TARPS
- training of all applicable employees and contractors in the requirements of strata management systems
- the suitability of temporary support fitted to continuous miners.