Underground » Health and Safety
This project stemmed from an evaluation in 2005 of injury data from Xstrata Coal NSW underground operations. This investigation highlighted the prevalence of injuries associated with development equipment, particularly continuous miners shuttle cars, LHD vehicles and personnel transport.
The project involved a systematic identification of the hazards associated with underground equipment and a collation of controls currently in place at 14 mines. This process was supported by an analysis of injury data held by Coal Services, and visits to other sites, manufacturers, government agencies and international research organisations to identify potential controls for outstanding injury risks. In this phase of the work, the researcher spent 6 months at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health NIOSH, US, as a National Academy of Sciences Senior Research Associate.
In addition to presentations at industry conferences, and publications in scientific journals, the results of the project were disseminated through a one day seminar attended by 100 representatives from mines and manufacturers. A central component of the project was the development of a generic tool, and associated training materials, to assist mines in systematically assessing and controlling the injury risks associated with underground equipment
This project significantly raised awareness of both mines and manufacturers of the shortcomings inherent in the design of current equipment, and a number of re-design initiatives have been adopted by Xstrata NSW as a consequence.
The project resulted in the production of an easy-to-use handbook that provides a snapshot of current best practice for management of underground equipment injury risks, restricted primarily to roadway development equipment, as well as a generic ergonomics risk assessment tool which aims to improve the assessment of injury risks related to the ergonomics of underground mining equipment generally. This is supplemented by a DVD-based training module. Copies of the handbook and DVD are available by email at www.burgess-limerick.com.
An e-newsletter has also been published for this project, highlighting its significance for the industry.