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13Coal Reclaim Tunnel Incident



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Brief Description of Incident/Accident & Description of Consequences/Outcomes:

The coal reclaim system comprised a stockpile located over a hopper which fed coal onto a conveyor in reclaim tunnel below via a clam shell style delivery chute. The system contained approximately 2000 tonnes of coal. The hydraulic ram which operated the clam shell door was seized at the pivot pin and also at the yoke the lug attached to the clam door. Two men worked on the conveyor adjacent to the door to effect the repairs. The oxy-cutting was just about completed when coal rushed onto the conveyor kone mkian backwards across the conveyor with his legs bent beneath him. He dropped the still lit oxy torch and was buried to the upper waist unable to move. His assistant was buried to the knees but was able to release himself and extinguish the oxy torch. He was not able to free his mate and left the tunnel to phone for help. Help arrived quickly and after securing the clam door with a chain block he was released uninjured.

Identified Root Causes:

Risks were known but no action taken to control.

Energy Type(s) Involved:

Uncontrolled flow of coal

Equipment Type(s):

Conveyor and a clam door in a discharge chute

Root & Contributing Cause(s):

LTA risk assessment

LTA testing

LTA work method

Stated or Potential Consequence(s):

Potential Fatality

Preventative/Recommended/Accepted Steps of Risk Mitigation, Points of Interest:

Had the door been able to open further serious injury would have resulted and had both men been trapped and been unable to extinguish the oxy torch a major fire could have occurred. Isolation procedures had been adhered to on the conveyor. Documented procedures existed for work in the reclaim tunnel and for cutting and welding in confined spaces but these had not been communicated effectively or put into place. The atmosphere in the tunnel had not been tested for flammable gas and there was no automatic fire sprinkler system.

Suggested Action Includes Refresher training for all employees in Reclaim Tunnel, Confined Space and Cutting and Welding Procedures.

"Lock" In device fitted to clam door will prevent recurrence in similar circumstances Hot work in reclaim tunnels made subject to work permit system.

An effective communication system to be included in tunnel procedures and emergency phone system to be modified.

Tunnel safety signs to be upgraded to identify hazards present.

Organisation:

Queensland Government Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI)


Results

Here are the results.


Information

Reference Type:

Safety Alert #5

Mine Type:

Any Mine Type

Energy:

Potential & Kinetic - Gravity > Falls from heights / Falling object(s)

Equipment:

Published:

2000

Region:

Australia, Queensland



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