Shocks prompt safety alert

Electric shocks at voltages above 50 volts AC at underground coal operations has risen during the past three years

AN increasing number of electric shocks at voltages above 50 volts AC at underground coal operations has risen during the past three years, and prompted a safety alert from the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

“It is unacceptable that workers receive electric shocks while going about their normal duties,” NSW DPI director of the Mine Safety Operations Branch Rob Regan said.

“The engineering risk controls for preventing electric shocks are well known and they are supported by well-known procedural risk controls and requirements that only electrically qualified people work on electrical equipment and installations.

“If all of these are implemented and well managed, electric shocks should be prevented. When a person receives an electric shock it indicates that there are systemic failures in the management of electrical engineering safety.”

The DPI recommends that coal operators should review:

• their mine site risk assessments and ensure that electrical energy has been identified as a hazard

• their Mine Health and Safety Management System to ensure that it provides for the prevention of electric shock

• the adequacy and reliability of the risk controls that are implemented for preventing electric shock

• their management structure to ensure there is sufficient electrical engineering supervision to manage programs for the prevention of electric shock

View more safety alerts at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/minerals/safety/safety-alerts

To receive safety alerts by email, send contact details to mine.safetyalert@dpi.nsw.gov.au

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