Safety warning over exploratory drilling

SafeWork SA is urging the mining industry to review its safety procedures for exploratory drilling after a worker was injured recently on the Yorke Peninsula.

SafeWork SA is urging the mining industry to review its safety procedures for exploratory drilling after a worker was injured recently on the Yorke Peninsula.

Safety inspectors attended the incident and have established that the injured man was a member of a contract drilling team engaged in exploration work on a private property situated between Port Arthur and Ardrossan.

At about 8am, the team was winching the drilling pipe up inside the mast, with the employee holding the pipe to guide it. In the process, the pipe snagged itself on the lugs of the mast causing it to swing in a seesaw fashion.

As the pipe rose, the worker was first struck on the face, and then lifted nearly 2 m after which he then fell onto other pipes on the ground nearby.

The man was airlifted to the Royal Adelaide Hospital for treatment to upper body and pelvic injuries.

SafeWork SA inspectors have issued a Prohibition Notice on the rig until a safe system of work can be developed, and have opened a formal investigation.

The incident has prompted the agency to warn drilling teams of the need to keep safety foremost in their work practices, especially after a fatality near Moomba in the state’s far north on the Australia Day long weekend.

“The current surge in mineral exploration activity in South Australia must not be accompanied by a rise in work-related injuries,” says Executive Director, Michele Patterson.

“We understand that business is booming in the drilling industry, but taking shortcuts on safety in this type of work is simply asking for trouble.

“Given the size of the machinery being operated, the amount of movement involved and the varying site conditions, drilling teams face many safety hazards that need to be very tightly managed,” Patterson says.

For answers and advice on workplace health and safety and the relevant laws, call SafeWork SA’s telephone Help Centre on 1 300 365 255.

To report serious accidents or incidents, in the workplace call 1 800 777 209.

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