A recent incident at a Queensland coal mine has highlighted the need for fit-for purpose equipment.
According to the Mine Safety Operations Branch of the at the NSW Department of Primary Industries, the mine had purchased a set of support stands that did not include a maximum operating height.
There was also no indication on the plant of compliance with any Australian or other standard.
Testing by a recognised industry testing agency revealed that the stand’s maximum operating height was 700mm, indicating that the stand stability did not comply with Australian Standard AS/NZS 2538:2004 Vehicle support stands.
The Queensland Department of Mines and Energy — Mines Inspectorate released Safety Alert No 187 on the incident on 18 March 2008. This cabe downloaded at: www.dme.qld.gov.au/mines/mining_safety___health.cfm.
Recently, a support stand being used at a NSW coal mine failed while supporting heavy machinery. This incident is currently subject to investigation.
No Australian Standard exists specifically for support stands for heavy equipment or earthmoving machinery typically in use at mines. However, the principles of AS/NZS 2538:2004 Vehicle support stands can be applied.
All mines must ensure that equipment purchased, leased or hired is appropriate and fit-for-purpose through the risk management process.
All mines should review Queensland Safety Alert No 187 Vehicle-mobile plant support stands.
Mine Safety Operations Branch
NSW Department of Primary Industries