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67Rope Power Shovel Maintenance - Fatal Accident

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

A maintenance fitter received fatal injuries during a check for a broken shaft in the swing drive transmission on a rope power shovel. This check necessitated the removal of an inspection cover, located in a tight (confined) space, because of the adjacent hoist drum, and the fitter was observing the rotation of the shaft whilst the upper part of the shovel was being moved laterally by a bulldozer pushing against the bucket of the shovel.

Identified Root Causes:

The brakes on the hoist drums were inadvertently released when the swing drive brakes were released. Both brakes were operated by a common switch. During the lateral movement of the upper part of the shovel the hoist drums rotated, under the action of gravity on the bucket of the shovel, and a rope anchor block on one of the hoist drums trapped the deceased’s head in the confined space.

Energy Type(s) Involved:

Entrapment of person in moving machine part

Equipment Type(s):

Swing Drive Transmission

Root & Contributing Cause(s):

LTA awareness

LTA hazard identification

LTA maintenance work method

LTA risk assessment

LTA work method

Stated or Potential Consequence(s):


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

All work in confined spaces should be properly scrutinised within the guidelines provided by Australian Standard AS2865 – Safe Working in a Confined Space.

(ii) Proper isolation and tagging procedures must be followed when carrying out any work on equipment with particular emphasis on those isolation and tagging procedures where it is necessary to operate or move the equipment to allow for the work to be carried out.

(iii) All recommendations supplied by the manufacturer/supplier of equipment, related to the operation and maintenance of their equipment, should receive proper consideration.

EMESRT Risk(s):

Shif task to a non confined space

Eliminate tasks in confined spaces

ISOLgate Checklist(s):

Download Shif task to a non confined space Checklist.

Download Eliminate tasks in confined spaces Checklist.


Government of Western Australia, Department of Mines and Petroleum


Here are the results.


Reference Type:

Significant Incident Report #52

EMESRT Risk(s):

Shif task to a non confined space

Eliminate tasks in confined spaces

Mine Type:

Surface Mine


Potential & Kinetic - Mechanical > Moving machine part(s)





Australia, Western Australia

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