Developing a Form of Safety Case Using the Coal Mine Safety Regime (CMSR): Application to High Voltage Electrical Isolation at Underground Coal Mining Operations

Underground » Health and Safety

Published: May 14Project Number: C19015

Get ReportAuthor: Gul Yilmaz, Derek Griffiths | The University of Queensland

This project focused on developing a form of safety case using the Coal Mine Safety Regime (CMSR) approach. The research was undertaken with the objective of developing a leading practice CMSR for subsequent application to other major hazards in underground and open cut mining and CHHP operations.


Regulatory requirements in New South Wales and Queensland call for mine sites to develop a safety management system (SMS) and major/principal hazard management plans (MHMP/PHMP). Much of the information required to perform the CMSR approach would also be necessary to develop the required SMS and MHMP/PHMP for a site.


The CMSR approach described here was previously developed as a part of the ACARP C15011 project (Joy and Kizil, 2009) to support effective safety management system development and application for coal mining operations. The CMSR development process involved a careful review of the traditional safety case methods that are common for both regulatory and corporate assurance mechanisms in high hazard industries around the world such as offshore oil, nuclear, gas, hazardous materials manufacture, and transport and storage industries. The safety case process is also applied to electrical, electronics and programmable electronic systems used in safety critical applications for defence (eg the UK MoD, 1999). The basic objective of a safety case is to demonstrate that the operation of the site can be managed safely. The challenge to develop a mine safety case was to define an effective and efficient industry specific approach as well as a reasonable change management approach. The CMSR method was developed from a comparison of National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA) safety case principles and the leading practice site level risk management as applied in the Australian coal mining industry.


The research described in this report was applied to high voltage electrical isolation to demonstrate how CMSR processes could be implemented at sites. This was chosen as the application area because poor standards of electrical installation and maintenance continue to contribute to electrical related fatalities and injury risk in the mining industry. Electrical isolation has the potential to initiate major unwanted events (MUEs) and as such requires thorough analysis to demonstrate adequate management. There have been 32 fatalities related to accidental contact with electricity over the past twenty years within the Queensland mining industry (Queensland Government DME 2007).


The report begins by introducing statuary requirements and summarizing the risk assessment techniques commonly used in the minerals industry. Next, the methods used in this research, such as site visits and data collection, document reviews and team workshops are introduced. Traditional safety cases are discussed and then the 4-layered coal mine safety regime (CMSR) is introduced. Thereafter, a comparative review of CMSR, traditional safety case and principal/major hazard management is presented, and the benefits of sites moving towards a CMSR are highlighted. Next, a gap analysis of existing risk management processes against best practice risk management using the CMSR model is described: for this, a representative but hypothetical site was used. Finally, the report concludes by showing how CMSR might enhance aspects of site risk management and recommendations for future work to integrate CMSR into the mining industry are presented to ensure that risks are reduced to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP).


This project has delivered the following objectives:

· It developed a form of safety case using the CMSR to an exemplar case study focusing on electrical safety;

· It applied advanced risk engineering methodologies, tools and techniques as specified above (for example the RODMMODEL);

· It generated new knowledge for high voltage electrical safety;

· It demonstrated the integrated risk engineering discipline addressing CMSR requirements;

· Finally, it described the practical development of the CMSR and actual risk assessment methodology to the case study that is flexible enough to be adopted for other principal/major hazards management.


CMSR provides a structured process for sites to meet and exceed statuary requirements to help ensure best practice risk management for the Australian coal mining industry. It is concluded here that this project provides the mining industry with a documented and publicly accessible form of safety case that applies the CMSR approach for the first time.


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