The New South Wales Industry & Investment Mine Safety Operations Branch has released a safety alert after a serious accident involving coal and slurry discharge from a rail loading bin.
An uncontrolled body of coal and slurry, discharged from the rail loading bin, resulted in the bin control room glass window being broken and the room being inundated with slurry and coal lumps.
Two maintenance workers were said to be cleaning out the bin in readiness to complete maintenance and repairs around the bin discharge.
Prior to the incident, water and coal slurry from the ‘run of mine’ bin had been conveyed into the rail loading bin.
The hydraulically operated bin gates were being ‘jogged’ to free up the slurry in the rail loading bin when an uncontrolled mass of slurry ejected through the gates, resulting in large pieces of coal material and slurry smashing the control room window and entering the control room.
According to the mine safety operation branch, the force of the discharge dislodged chairs, computers and other equipment onto the floor.
Large shards of glass from the broken window were also propelled into the control room.
Mine Safety Operations Branch director Rob Regan recommends that operators should check the engineering integrity and location of control stations associated with bin operations, and where shortcomings are identified, implement actions to safeguard people required to work in the control rooms.
According to the safety alert, operators should also check the rating of any glass panels or windows in the control rooms to ensure they are rated to withstand breakage or inundation from uncontrolled ejection of coal or slurry.