The New South Wales Department of Primary Industries has issued a safety alert, after a worker was struck in the head by a falling rock.
The 10 kg rock fell from an overhead conveyor, striking the worker on the safety hat and injuring his head and neck and breaking a tooth.
The worker was greasing a bearing underneath the conveyor in the company of a supervisor and had stepped out from under the conveyor when the rock hit him.
According to the Department, a section of the belt was narrower than it should have been and the rocks that were being conveyed were prone to rolling off.
A considerable quantity of rock was observed to be lying on the walkway next to the conveyor, on steel sections of the conveyor structure, on electrical cables and on the ground on both sides.
During production on the day following the accident, rocks were observed to still be falling from the conveyor.
The Department recommends that the mines assess the potential for material to fall into any accessible area and cause injury, giving due consideration to the height of the fall, maximum speed and weight of the falling material.
These areas should be classified as danger areas and fitted with warning signs, safety guards and belt tracking limits to prevent belt edge damage.