Confined Spaces: Miner Says Company Owes Him 1.3m For Injury

A miner suffered permanent damage to his spine after the dozer he was operating dropped over 1.5m down a rock face while he was reversing.

The miner claims the company owes him $1.3 million in physical and permanent damages following the accident.

His claim states that he was operating a dozer in the steep key cut of a dragline  work area in February 2008. His task required him to rip out rock surfaces prior to removing material with the dragline.

He alleges the dozer slipped and dropped while he was reversing and his neck and body were twisted while he was looking behind him to reverse.

The miner was employed at Biloela’s Anglo Coal Callide Mine when he sustained the injury to his cervical spine. His resulting injury has impacted the man’s ability to work as a plant operator in foreseeable future.

He claimed the company is at fault for failing to ensure a safe workplace, and for failing to properly drill blast holes.

The worker has sought $1.26million in damages.

The company was given less than two-weeks to respond to the claims.

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Source : http://alertforce.com.au/ohs-training/confined-spaces-miner-says-company-owes-him-1-3m-for-injury/

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

Confined Spaces: Worker Injured by Fallen Rock

An underground mine worker at La Mancha Resources’ Frog’s Leg gold mine near Coolgardie was seriously injured in a rock fall yesterday.

The company said a rock became dislodged and fell on the 27-year-old man’s legs during routine machinery maintenance. It happened about 7am in an underground section of the mine.

“The company’s emergency response plan was immediately implemented and first aid was administered at the scene,” a La Mancha spokesman said.

The spokesman said the worker was having treatment at Kalgoorlie Hospital where he had been taken by the on-site ambulance.

The Department of Mines and Petroleum said it believed the worker had a crushed foot, broken leg and injured back.

Operations at Frog’s Leg were suspended after the accident but were expected to resume last night, apart from at the incident site, providing the company completed a full safety assessment to the satisfaction of the mines department.

The incident comes after it was last week reported the miner would look to double its workforce in the Goldfields. The expansion will be bankrolled by new owner and Cairo billionaire Naguib Sawiris.

About 160 people work at Frog’s Leg, but the miner wants to create 80 positions to reopen its White Foil open pit and 40 positions for its $110 million processing plant, due for completion next year.

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Source http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/wa/16411448/worker-injured-in-mine-rock-fall/

Confined Spaces: Galaxy Blast Claims Another Life

Another worker has succumbed to the effects of an explosion that occurred last November at a Chinese Lithium plant owned by Galaxy Resources.

Australian Securities Exchange released an update earlier this week stating that a second worker had died as a result of an infection sustained from the injuries following the accident.

Galaxy had previously revealed that several employees and contractors were exposed to heated sodium sulphate solution  and suffered second-degree burns. Investigations into the causes of the explosion were reportedly done by the company and China’s Suzhou Safety Bureau.

Their report concluded that an “abnormal and unexpected blockage” resulted a mass of sodium sulphate which caused the fibreglass pipework to rupture.

“Employees and contractors affected by the incident continue to recover, and the company continues to support them and their families,” the statement said.

“The company has business, commercial and welfare insurance policies in China that cover the business interruption and the affected employees.”

Galaxy  reported that stainless steel replacements were on the way and the the ruptured section is expected to be repaired by February.

The company manages the Mt Cattlin mine.

Source: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/wa/15844412/second-worker-dies-after-galaxy-blast/

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WesTrac Pays Out For Worker’s Lost Leg

Two companies will pay out a quarter million dollars for a workplace accident which resulted in a  man’s leg getting crushed while he was working on a reservoir at Eraring power station.

According to the Industrial Court, On July 2,2009 the WesTrac employee was at the site to repair a dozer which was leased to earthmoving company, Hardy Bros Mining and Constructions Pty Ltd.

The victim — with the help of other workers, was attaching a 1352 kg piece of equipment to the dozer when the equipment fell and stuck the victim and falling on his right leg.

His leg was subsequently amputed below the knee.

WesTrac, Hardy Bros and Hardy Bros director Robert Hardy all face charges under the OHS act, and have pleaded guilty.

The judge presiding over the case said they had failed to provide a safe system of work and failed to provide adequate equipment for carrying the replacement part.

WesTrac was fined $150,000, Hardy Bros $105,000 and Robert Hardy $11,250.  The judge ordered them to also pay legal costs.

‘‘The evidence demonstrates that [the offenders] have taken responsibility in different ways for their acts and omissions in relation to this accident,’’ Justice Haylen said.

‘‘In particular, WesTrac has provided not only financial [support], but support at many levels for [the victim] from the time of his hospitalisation through to his rehabilitation, and in securing a career for him within the company structure.

‘‘It is to be noted that, despite its extensive safety programs, there remained a significant gap in [WesTrac’s] safety processes relating to repairs in the field.’’

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Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/1168039/companies-fined-for-lost-leg/?cs=305 

 

Confined Spaces:CFMEU Campaigns Against QLD Mining Legislation

The CFMEU has launched a campaign against the Queensland State Government’s proposed safety legislation changes.

The ad which was recently broadcasted, utilizes the symbol of death itself, the grim reaper, and makes reference to the recent disaster at the Pike River mine in New Zealand which killed 29 men.

The ad went to air to coincide with Joanne Ufer’s address to parliament. Ufer’s son was killed in the 2010 Pike River mine disaster.

She used her address to appeal to the government to stop its proposed safety legislative changes, CQ news reported.

“Mine safety is a matter of life and death.” Ufer said.

“My family will never recover from what happened to Joshua but I wanted to make sure the government knew the implications of messing with a safety system acknowledged to be the best in the world.”

The union said the State Government was under pressure from the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) to remove powers currently held by mine check inspectors and place the authority in the hands of mine management.

Check inspectors currently have the power to halt production; any move to restrict or remove this authority would reverse the lessons learnt from the Pike River Royal Commission, the CFMEU said.

CFMEU Queensland secretary Tim Whyte has appealed to the QRC to drop its proposed safety deregulation plans.

“Queensland has the safest mining industry in the world – why mess with it?” he said.

Earlier this month Australian Mining reported the CFMEU was fighting the Queensland Resources Council’s push to ‘deregulate’ mine safety.

At the time the QRC said the union had abused its ability to close mines and these changes to safety rules would bring regulations closer to those in NSW.

This latest campaign comes after the CFMEU’s mining adverts were last week shelved by Qantas, marked as being against the company’s advertising guidelines, Luke Enright Qantas spokesman said.

“It ran for a day and then we had it pulled off the next day,” he said. “It wasn’t censoring a union ad – we don’t allow any political ads.”

The CFMEU’s national secretary Michael O’Connor condemned the decision, saying it was undemocratic to stop legitimate public debate.

“There is nothing remotely controversial about these commercials,” he said.

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Source: http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/news/cfmeu-calls-to-stop-the-deregulation-of-mine-safet

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: WA Mines 3x More Fatal Than Any Other State

Confined spaces training

WA mine sites are three times more fatal than other states in Australia, according to recent reports from Safe Work Australia.

The report also revealed that workers are treating their own injuries on the job out of fear of being fired. This “culture of cover-ups” is reportedly a result of  mining companies trying to keep profits and production at full speed. Following inquiries by The Sunday Times, Department of Mines and Petroleum director-general Richard  Sellers  said inspectors will probe the first-aid kit claims.

Mining is reportedly number three on the list of deadly jobs in WA, only surpassed by the agriculture and construction industries. Over a dozen lives have been lost in four years, with countless injuries and close-calls.

Since WA has over a third of Australia’s mine workers, it accounts for nearly half of the deaths.

Safe Work reports that from 2007- 2011 16 mine workers died in WA. Of the mining deaths  Queensland had five fatalities,NSW and SA had five, and Victoria had one.

It was also revealed that

  •  Companies are informed prior to safety inspections
  • Following this month’s ore price drop, whole mine-safety teams were laid off.
  • Some inductions for new recruits consist of simply a  video with a questionnaire with answers provided.
  • Department of Mines noted over 50″significant incident reports” in under two decades. Some incidents include crushed workers, and deadly fumes in underground mines, explosions and other mining disasters.

Advocacy group FIFO Families’ said  several workers acquired their own first-aid kits for work because of the the fear they have of reporting “lost time injuries”. This fear is thought to stem from companies linking bonuses to “no lost-time” injuries since some contractors desperately wanted a clean safety record.

Consultant and campaigner Helen Fitzroy, who founded legacy charity Miners’ Promise following the mining death of her husband, has called for an elimination of production bonuses because they result in workers not reporting incidents.Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union secretary Gary Wood  stated that mine inspections were often “controlled” during site visits .He confirmed allegations that some companies had no desire to have injury reported on their record.

Mines Department director-general Richard Sellers noted the success of his inspectors hosting impromptu safety inspections. Sellers stated that these “pop” inspections had prompted a safety overhaul in WA that has made the mines some of the safest in the world.

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Mining Safety Boss Calls for Feedback From The Industry

Confined Spaces SafetyFour new mine inspectors have been appointed throughout Australia. The inspectors will be predominately focusing on the state’s Northwest, while the the other will cover the Southwest.  The WA Department of Mines and Petroleum stated that each inspector brings forth experiences from varying backgrounds, whether it be an expertise in geotechnical,mechanical, process engineering and mining engineering.

Simon Ridge, DMP state mining engineer stated that the new appointments fall under the Department’s efforts to improve and maintain safety under the RADARS program.  Each inspector completed intensive training programs which will help ensure that their work is of the highest standards. Ridge said that the main focus is the implement a cultural change within the industry –by encouraging operators to keep safety a top priority at all times.

Ridge has assisted significantly in the appointment of 25 mines safety inspectors in the previous two years.

Recently, the DMP resources safety boss urged mining industry operators to review proposed new health and safety regulations for WA.

The Commonwealth,State and Territory Governments, unions and employer organisations; have developed a new national model for WHS Regulations and model codes of practice. Ridge is currently undertaking consultation on the model legislation.

The process is currently aimed at determining the cost and benefits of the proposed regulations that would apply to the mining industry in WA. Ridge has encouraged mining industry stake holders to involve themselves in the consultation process. Ridge encouraged the submission of feedback from mining industry professionals so that the new regulations could effectively be applied to the minerals sector.

According to the DMP, financial consultants Marsden Jacob Associates will be receiving feedback until October 12.

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Source :http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/news/new-safety-inspectors-hit-wa-mines

Confined Spaces: Trapped NZ Miners Make It Out Safely

Mining SafetyTwenty-eight miners were rescued after being trapped underground in a New Zealand mining site. The miners were trapped in the gold mine when a truck caught on fire. The men were compelled to find shelter in a specially designed refuge chamber prior to being safely evacuated out of the mine.

NZ mining industry has claimed the lives of hundreds of miners since the industry emerged over a century ago.

Twenty-eight miners who were trapped underground in a New Zealand mine have been safely rescued.

Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union assistant national secretary Ged O’Connell was confident throughout the situation that miners would remain safe. O’Connell said that the mine was built in such a way that the miners could survive for numerous days based on the amount of amenities available. O’Connell was confident that the training of the miners would provide them with the knowhow to get through similar situations.

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Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-17/fire-in-nz-gold-mine/4135340

Confined Spaces : Queensland Won’t Undermine Mine Safety

Confined Spaces TrainingThe Queensland Government has released a press release regarding the safety legislation of the mining industry. According to the press release, the government is currently awaiting notice from the resources sector on a proposal to harmonise Queensland’s mine safety legislation with other states.

Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps recently released a paper welcoming industry comment on the model act.  Despite efforts to harmonise the safety legislation, there are some concerns with the process.  However Cripps said that every effort is being made to ensure that the new model laws were at least as effective as the current mining laws.  Cripps cited public fears that since Queensland’s laws are already of good quality, then they may risk adopting lesser-quality harmonised mine safety legislation.  Cripps encourages the mining industry to provide input on the mining safety legislation. The Newman Government is allegedly committed providing the highest safety standards with minimal risk to the 58,000 Queenslanders in the industry.

Industry stakeholders have until July,23 2012 to provide input to the State Government.

The laws are reported to be developed with the partnership of industry professionals and union representatives.

The Newman LNP Government  is reportedly unconvinced that the national model legislation is the best thing for Queensland  and for mine safety.

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Source: http://www.mysunshinecoast.com.au/articles/article-display/queensland-wont-compromise-on-mine-safety,25969

Important Facts About Confined Spaces Safety

Confined Spaces Training

When working in Confined Spaces it is important to have adequate training in order to avoid entrapment or even worse, death. Luckily there are some measures recommended to utilize in order to understand the complexities of Confined Spaces Working.

 

 HAZARD IDENTIFICATION

According to Work Safe, it is important for the employer to mention any confined spaces and the various hazards that accompany such work. Also the employer should practice the utilization of sign postings  when required in order to secure the area.

The follow circumstances can result in serious injury or even death:

  • Firstly,  oxygen deficiency in confined spaces can result in;  slow oxidation reactions for organic or other substances, combustion, diluted air and gas, absorption of deadly substances by grains, or soils.
  • Over-abundance of oxygen in confined spaces can be caused by contaminants , whether they be from solids, liquids or a various other forms.
  • Adjusting the position of equipment can result in workers becoming overwhelmed and crushed.

It is important for one to conduct a risk assessment in order to identify the various dangers within the workplace. Doing so can determine what the nature of the confined space is,  and the work required  to be done within a confined space . Furthermore, it can help workers understand emergency proceduresIt is the employers responsibility to ensure that the assessment is consistently kept up-to-date and always valid

Some steps that employers must take to avoid many accidents, is the prohibition of smoking and naked flames. within confined spaces and the adjacent areas.Some  equipment should even prohibited, such as the use forklifts.  An additional concern is the level of heat while working in the area.

Types of Risk Assessments

Generic assessment : The employer is responsible for several confined spaces in which related work is performed at all sites. Risks factors are often identical but when this is not the case, a generic risk assessment is encouraged. This type of assessment helps identify the conditions and location of confined spaces and the type of work practiced in it.  Depending on the type of work or condition of the site, the risk factors could potential differ from eachother.

Assessment frequency: 

The assessment period should be decided on by the employer with consultation with employees or representatives. Whenever risks change, a new assessment should be conducted with this change in mind. A change in risk can result from :

  • Modification in equipment operating conditions
  • Change in the work atmosphere or environment
  • Change in work procedures or agreements.

Confined Spaces: Mine Worker Injured At Leonora mining site

Mining Safety TrainingA young mine worker was injured in an underground incident in Leornora. He sustained injuries to his throat and chest area when he was struck by some apparatus.

He was airlifted by the Royal Flying Doctor Service to Royal Perth Hospital where he received treatment.

The accident took place at the King of the Hills mine a few kilometres north-west of Leonora. According to St Barbara Managing Director and CEO Tim Lehany, the man is a worker for contracting company Byrnecut.

The mine is owned by a Melbourne gold mining company, St.Barbara. Lehany alleges that the incident did not result in any falling rocks. According to a spokesperson, there is currently no scheduled formal investigation by the Department of Mines and Petroleum.

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Source: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/wa/13474320/man-injured-in-mining-accident/ 

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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Hastened Safety Laws Endanger Miners

confined spaces trainingUnions have cautioned that the new safety regulations being rushed through by Canberra and the states, face the potential of endangering the lives of many miners working in at risk. This confined spaces issue, has caused the NSW Minerals Council and The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union’ to voice their concerns.

The NSW Minerals Council has stated their support for CFMEU’s request that the National Mining Safety Framework’s implementation be delayed for six months.

The union’s mining division’s general secretary, Andrew Vicors stated that the national standards were left open to public comment for six months prior to the start date of the regulations. Vicors added that despite the framework being due in February, additions to the new regulations weren’t free to the public until last month. According to Vicors, the deadline had been cut to January, leaving only eight-weeks  for the consultation period. He said a number of cuts to air and methane monitoring, the banning of breathing apparatus, as well as problems with the level of escape routes and the level of ventiliation,:are worrying the union.

Vicors believes that disastrous events like the Pike River tragedy wouldn’t have occurred if New Zealand had adopted the same safety laws of NSW. He attributes the subsequent strengthening of NZ safety laws, to their government’s recognition of the recent tragic events.He has pressed Julia Gillard and various other politicians to delay the new safety laws.A representative from Senator Evans has indicated that the government might lengthen the period of consultation and the execution of the framework.

Source:http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/rush-on-safety-regulations-will-put-miners-at-risk-say-unions/story-fn59niix-1226121570510

Methane Risk at Mining Facility

confined spaces trainingThe risk of a methane leak has caused an underground coal mine to close in Hunter Valley.

Workers were told to halt all procedures at the confined space until a proper investigation has been conducted. The Department of Trade and Investment closed the facility after becoming aware of unsafe levels of methane.

The vice president of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy union, Robin Williams stated that the mine has been experiencing ventilation troubles.Williams said that while the closure will cause lead to financial losses, the facility had long been experiencing problems.

The resources minister for New South Wales has requested a report on the status on the issue and has stated that the department will continue to work to ensure that the issue is dealt in a acceptable manner.

The minister claims that the safety of the workers to be the most important matter.

Source : http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/news/methane-fears-shutdown-coal-mine

Confined Spaces -Queensland mineworker killed at Pike River

confined spaces training,A Queensland mineworker was working in New Zealand’s Pike River when he died from an explosion within the confined space that trapped and killed 29 other men.

Kim Joynson’s husband,Willie was killed after previously expressing safety concerns at the mining facility that he worked at. The Pike River Royal Commission has revealed that the facility had major safety issues that were not attended to. Willie was in fact in discussion with mine operators regarding his concerns when he died.

Willie’s wife hopes that the Royal Commission will bring to light, the issues with the Pike River mine. Although a section of the mine has been declared safe to reenter, Joynson may not have her husband’s body returned to her for years. An investigation has begun that will observe and report the possible causes of the explosions at the mine and the subsequent loss of life. The investigation will also examine the occupational health and safety regulations in place for mining in confined spaces .

Source: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/pike-mine-victim-willie-joynsons-widow-says-her-husband-had-safety-fears-before-disaster/story-e6freoof-1226083806360

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