Miner injured by bees

A worker in WA has sustained multiple bee stings after he was attacked by a swarm during rehab operations.

A motor control centre (MCC) which had stood idle for six years needed to be moved as part of environmental rehabilitiation on a minesite, located in a wildflower area.

Inspection of the MCC revealed the presence of bees, which were sprayed by a pest controller.

However, while moving the MCC the next morning, the spotter was attacked by a swarm of bees from the MCC.

The spotter tried to seek cover inside a light vehicle, but unfortunately "bees quickly filled the interior through an open door" the DMP significant incident report said.

The worker tried to escape the swarm on foot along a haul road, and was picked up by another light vehicle, having sustained aproximately 90 stings to the head and upper torso.

He did not return to normal duties until two weeks later.

The Department of Mines and Petroleum reported the incident was caused by a failure to report a fourthy colony of bees inside the MCC, and movement of the MCC causing the bees to perceive an attack.

The mine site in question has recorded 61 bee related incidents over the past 13 years, yet control measures were not based on formal procedures or processes based on research.

JSAs for the task did not adequately assess the risk posed by the bees, and chemical spraying was relied upon without determining its effectiveness.

The incident report stated bees had not been mentioned on the JSA prepared on the day of the incident.

In addition, PPE supplied didi not provide any adequate protection from beestings.

The DMP recommended using historical data to assess faunal hazards, and to make sure mining operators did not miss opportunities to identify warning signs of hazards, being careful to guard against "normalisation of risk".

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