Coal mine head injury prompts investigation

An investigation is underway to determine the cause of an accident which saw a Mannering Colliery LHD driver receive severe lacerations to the head after colliding with a damaged roof support.

The W strap (pictured) was hanging down in the roadway and entered the cabin of a travelling Load Haul Dump (LHD), striking the operator in the head near his left eye.

The Mannering Colliery has been on care and maintenance since 2012, with 30 people employed by operator LakeCoal to service the underground thermal coal mine.

Initial enquiries conducted by the NSW Mine Safety inspectorate found the operator had five years of experience in the coal industry including mobile plant, but was new onsite, having taken his induction during the days before the accident.

On 22 January 2016 at 1:40pm the operator drove an Eimco 913-6 loader with an empty bucket towards an underground sump area to pick up a pump.

While driving into the mine workings at low speed through a low-overhead section, the operator did not see a damaged support strap hanging from the roof as he was concentrating on following another vehicle.

As the LHD drove forward the strap entered the cabin and struck the operator, who stopped the vehicle and sought assistance from other mine workers. He was taken to the surface and treated by a NSW Ambulance Service paramedic, then taken to a nearby hospital emergency department.

Actions following the event were repair of the damaged W strap and excavation of the floor to increase roof height through the road section.

Further enquiry by the NSW Mine Safety Investigation Unit is underway, and a full report will be prepared by the Department of Industry.

An interim release from the department suggested a range of control measures, including management plans for condition inspections of strata supports, regular assessment of ‘low roof’ areas, and adequate protection for mobile plant cabins as per clauses 214 and 215 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation (2011) and clause 28 of the Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Regulation (2014).

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