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Steep rise in the number of fires in NSW underground mines

147_4798A steep rise in the number of fires reported in underground mines in NSW has prompted NSW Mine Safety to issue a special warning about the alarming increase.

An recently conducted analysis has found, for the period between 2008 and 2012, fires comprised approximately 25 percent of all notifiable incidents on mechanical plant in underground metalliferous mines in NSW.

Since 2008, a total of 128 fires have been reported on mechanical plant. Mobile plant accounted for 76 per cent of fires. Of these, 23 (18 per cent) were reported as resulting in plant damage. There was only one reported incident that resulted in injury. In this incident, an operator spilled fuel onto a petrol powered pump that ignited and caused some superficial burns to the face and forearm of the operator.

The greatest number of fires occurred in the Cobar area 70 (55 per cent). There have been 45 (35 per cent) fires in the Orange area and 13 (10 per cent) fires in the Broken Hill area.

NSW Mine Safety is encouraging mine owners and operators to read the analysis in parallel with a review of their own fire incident records to identify areas for improvement that are specific to their mine.

The analysis and safety bulletin can be found on Mine Safety’s website:  http://www.resources.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/492731/SB13-05-underground-fires.pdf

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