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Report reveals underground bolting rig injuries on the rise

Helmet of a miner lying in the floor at a mine - mining concepts

NSW Mine Safety engaged a mechanical engineering consultant to review the number of injuries that have occurred as a result of roof bolting in underground coal mines.

The report, Bolting rig incident review for NSW underground coal mines, identified that the number of injuries as a result of roof bolting continued to rise.

There were 98 related roof bolting injuries between 2009 and 2015 that resulted in workers being hospitalised or certified unfit for work for seven days or more.

The two types of roof bolting related injuries were reported as incidents related to musculoskeletal disorders, ergonomics and slips, trips and falls; and injuries related to moving equipment.

The report found musculoskeletal disorders (42%) and slip, trips and falls account for the majority of reported injuries. It also found that operator entanglement with moving components, including roof and rib falls, had reduced by 20 percent, however there continued to be a high number of reported fluid escape roof bolting related incidents, with general supply hose failures shown to contribute the highest number of injuries in this category.

The NSW Mine Safety report recommended improved consultation between mine operators and equipment manufacturers; extra training for drill operators to ensure awareness of potential injuries; bolting rigs be reviewed to check for safety improvements against the latest industry designs and standards; and exposure to hazardous manual tasks should be minimized throughout the shift by regularly rotating people or equipment.

Read the report for the full list of recommendations.

To assist industry on the path of continuous improvement, Mine Safety is facilitating a number of end user-focused roof bolting workshops in March 2016.

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