WA DMP reveals how fatal drill incident occurred

A West Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum investigation has revealed how the first fatal accident of 2016 occurred.

The worker, Lee Buzzard, died last month in a fatal accident at Rio Tinto’s Channar iron ore mine.

According to the DMP, the incident occurred when Buzzard and another fitter were re-installing a head-slide wear pad for a blast hole drill rig’s drill head, which had fallen out during operation.

At the time the rig was being used under power to align and fit two head-slide bolts into the bolt holes.

Buzzard was accessing the drill head when the centraliser arm closed unexpectedly while he was standing on the hydraulically operated break-out tool (HOBO).

He sustained fatal crush injuries to the chest and upper abdomen when he was caught between the drill rod centraliser arm and the drill head.

According to the DMP, an effective isolation had not been carried out before the fitters carried out the work, no JHA was performed for the task, and the uncontrolled movement of the rod centraliser arm had been identified on pre-start forms in the past but had never been actioned in the maintenance system.

The investigation into the incident is ongoing.