Company fined after telehandler and load fall

Failure to provide a safe working environment
Date: Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Mining operator fined after telehandler and load fall

FQM Australia Nickel Pty Ltd was today fined $19,000 in the Kalgoorlie Magistrates Court following an incident where a telehandler rolled over endangering two workers at the Ravensthorpe Nickel Mine on 11 January 2017.

The mining operator pleaded guilty after being charged with failing to provide a safe working environment under the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994 (WA).

FQM Australia Nickel contracted Southern Engineering and Agriculture (SEA) to remove and then reinstate piping around a tailings dam.

The SEA workers were attempting to move a pipe assembly by slinging it to a telehandler’s headboard when one of the slings broke and the load shifted, causing the vehicle to roll onto its side.

The telehandler was not equipped to lift a suspended load and the operator had not been trained in, or demonstrated competency in, the use of the telehandler for that purpose. The load weighed three tonnes, which was more than the rated lifting capacity of the telehandler.

Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety Director Mines Safety Andrew Chaplyn said the rollover could have been far more serious and the incident highlighted the importance of ensuring workers were appropriately trained.

“The pipeline relocation work essentially involved workers disconnecting 6-8km of pipeline around the tailings dam, splitting it into smaller pieces, transporting it less than 20m from its original location and re-connecting the pieces,” he said.

“The telehandler was not rated to lift the pipe assembly or equipped to lift suspended loads, and this exposed the contractors to unacceptable hazards.

“FQM Australia Nickel has cooperated fully with the investigation and has put in place various measures following the incident.

“These measures include revising and updating the key requirements of the verification of competency assessment for telehandler use, conducting mandatory hazard awareness training for all SEA employees, and reviewing and amending its contractor management system.”

On 12 May 2020, SEA partner Daniel Parker was fined $11,000 in the Esperance Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to failing to provide a safe working environment for the same incident.