Confined Spaces: Mine Worker Health Concerns

A health researcher  is concerned that data  from hundreds of thousands of  mine workers which studied the long-term health affects, is no longer being collected.

Lin Fritischi, an epidemiologist from the WA Institute of Medical Research at the University of Western Australia, stated that the data was crucial to learning of the health implications for WA mine workers. 

Fritischi is worried  that proper analysis of the information or thorough consultation with health experts was avoided prior to cancellation of the data collection.

“We’re concerned the Mine Health Surveillance was stopped without a full public consultation,” she said.

“It was announced on the 12th of January and stopped on the 13th, we’re worried there wasn’t a full thinking through of it.”

The program involved conducting health assessments on workers who are regularly exposed to dangerous chemicals such as those contained in diesel emissions.

Cancellation of the study is of particular concern for health experts after the World Health Organisation recently classified diesel emissions as a cause of cancer.

“We think they should use the mine health data they have collected to properly evaluate whether the mine health scheme should remain in place,” Professor Fritschi said.

“If the data proves useful, then they should consider continuing the program.”

More than 11,000 WA miners work underground and are exposed to diesel emissions in a confined environment on a daily basis and there are guidelines in place recommending companies keep that exposure within safe limits.

The Department of Mines said it stopped the program because its analysis of the data found the program neither prevented nor detected ill health at an early stage and therefore wasn’t helpful.

The department’s Mike Rowe refutes claims the studies weren’t thoroughly analysed and says that information is publicly available.

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Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-03-04/mine-worker-health-research-program-closes/4551734?section=wa

Purported Cause of Mount Lyell Disaster To Be Challenged

The cause of the Mount Lyell mining disaster is being currently being debated as it awaits its centenary.

Flames ignited in the North Mount Lyell mine in October 1912, resulting in the deaths of 42 miners and the entrapment of approximately 100 workers underground.

A Royal Commission released an open finding but the company fingered an employee as the one responsible. The company claims that the incident was caused by an employee lighting the fire.

Renowned historian Geoffrey Blainey wrote a book about 50 years ago in which he ascertained that the fire was deliberately lit.

“Not with the idea of causing death but with the idea of causing a shock,” he said.

But former MP Peter Schultz  is an author of a new book that challenges that position.

He told 730 Tasmania he wanted clear the air and dispute the company’s claims.  Shultz believes the company suppressed evidence of several electrical fires that had previously occurred. He added, that despite the commission’s findings that there had only been one fire, there was actually evidence indicating that five fires had occurred and that the pump station was especially dangerous.

“There were no fuses in the control circuits and on two of the previous occasions where there had been fires, they had to switch off the power to be able to put the fires out.”

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Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-10-06/cause-of-mt-lyell-disaster-questioned/4299184?section=tas

Confined Spaces: Late-Night Mining Work Resumes After Gas Leaks

Confined Spaces TrainingEvening mining operations have continued at a North Queensland coal mine which has struggled with a series of hazardous gas leaks.A month ago, the Mining company Thiess, made the decision to suspend late night operations at the site following a several gassing incidents recently.

25 miners have been taken to the hospital in the last two months after being exposed to hazardous gases.A spokesperson for the company stated that five new monitoring stations have been placed on the site and staff have received supplementary training.

Since operations have resumed last weekend, there has been low-level readings but the exposure was not enough to negatively affect others.

The company is exploring potentially long-term solutions to the issues.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-04-11/night-mining-resumes-after-miners-gassed/3942626?section=qld

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Confined Spaces: Three Miners Injured at Leinster Mine Site

Three injured workers were sent to Perth for medical care after all three of them suffered from injuries at a mine site near Leinster. The men landed at Jandakot Airport and were immediately transported by ambulance to the Royal Perth Hospital.The men’s injuries are considered serious but non-life threatening. The Royal Flying Doctors Service was requested by the mining town following the injury of the three men.

One man is alleged to be suffering from chest injuries after rubble fell upon him. He suffered from bruising and soreness as well as a serious ongoing injury and possible spinal problems. Another worker is said to have suffered a broken arm and possibly spinal injuries, while the last worker has suffered a serious fracture to his leg. All three men remained conscious throughout the ordeal however.

All three men were working in the underground Agnew mine when coils of mesh fell upon them, causing injuries.Mine inspectors are expected to reach the site soon in order to commence an investigation.

Source : http://www.perthnow.com.au/business/injured-mine-workers-airlifted-to-hospital/story-e6frg2qc-1226240840173

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