Operator crushed in longwall mine accident

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has released a safety alert urging mines to review safety procedures after a shearer operator was crushed between the front of a longwall chock and the AFC pan line.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has released a safety alert urging mines to review safety procedures after a shearer operator was crushed between the front of a longwall chock and the AFC pan line.

According to the operator, he was kicking spilled coal from the walkway when he slipped and fell in front of the chock.

The chock advanced and crushed him against the AFC pan line. The shearer had just completed the ‘snake’ cut at the tailgate and was returning to the tailgate end. He sustained multiple fractures of the pelvis and internal injuries.

According to the safety alert, chock movement control was automatic, initiated by the shearer as it proceeded along the face. The chock had been primed to move when the operator slipped and fell in front of it. The gap between the front of the chock and the pan line was sufficiently narrow that the potential for a person to receive fatal injuries was high.

Following the incident, the DPI recommended longwall mines review work procedures with emphasis on identification and implementation of hard barriers to prevent access of longwall personnel into hazardous areas; safe standing zones for shearer operators for each mining sequence across the face as well as safe access along the face at all times for longwall personnel.

The alert also recommended regular audits to ensure compliance with work procedures.

Rob Regan

Director, Mine Safety Operations Branch

NSW DPI

02 6571 8788

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