Taxonomy - Accidents in the Coal Mining Industry

Underground » Health and Safety

Published: January 97Project Number: C4044

Get ReportAuthor: Geoff McDonald | Geoff McDonald and Associates

The objective of this study is to improve the way industry injury/incident data contributes to mine site prevention strategies by adopting alternative classification and analysis systems. The system used in this study is aimed at providing factual information to assist in predicting "class 1" damage (ie where a person's future is permanently altered by the damage).

Phase 1 of this study analysed damaging occurrences resulting in a fatality, an injury with a lost time duration of 90 days or more and those where a lump sum workers compensation payout was made, during the period 1990-1995.

A total of 1231 occurrences (at a total cost of some $130 million) were classified into a "taxonomy" according to an energy model. Compensation cost was also attributed to each occurrence and groups of occurrences and the data presented in coal industry, open cut and underground categories.

At the broadest level of analysis the following results were obtained:

ENERGY TYPE % of Total Occurrences % of Total Cost
Human 39.8 38
Gravitational 32.3 34.7
Machine 20.6 22.09
Object 2.9 1.98
Thermal 1.29 68
Chemical 9 1.2
Other 1.5 1.14

Some of the situations associated with a significant number of occurrences included:

  • occurrences resulted in musculo-skeletal damage associated with handling objects, machines and components. The total cost was $23 million and the most common objects identified were machine components, cables, timber, pipes, hoses, drums and bulk bags.
  • involvement with uneven surfaces produced 199 occurrences. The main sub-categories were:
  • musculo-skeletal damage from slips and falls on uneven, rough or muddy ground, especially while handling objects or when stepping to the ground from machinery or from platforms or ladders. These totalled 78 occurrences at almost $9 million.
  • uneven surfaces also combined with the movement of mobile equipment to generate vibration and jarring damage. This resulted in 121 occurrences at $13 million.


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