Report helps unravel safety risks in mining

Report identifies three main hazards for workers in the mining industry.
Date: Monday, 24 August 2015

An analysis of more than six hundred serious mining injuries will improve our understanding of injury risks and causes in Western Australia’s mining industry.

Department of Mines and Petroleum State Mining Engineer Andrew Chaplyn said the report would help increase our understanding about what causes serious accidents and how to prevent them having fatal outcomes.

“The department analysed 658 serious injuries, including three fatalities, reported by the mining industry during a six month period from 1 July to 31 December 2013,” Mr Chaplyn said.

The analysis follows on from the department’s review of 52 fatal accidents in the mining industry between 2000 and 2012.

“The key objective of both these reports was to develop a better understanding of the injury risk profile of the State’s mining industry,” Mr Chaplyn said.

“These risk profiles have been compared to establish if the hazards and causation factors identified from the recent serious injury data are consistent with the results of the fatal accident review.

“Both the serious injury review and the fatal accident review have independently identified the three main hazards for all employees.

“They are falling while working at height, being in the line of fire for objects or suspended loads, and being struck or crushed by machines and heavy components.”

Selected serious injury data was shown to be statistically consistent over a period of ten years, and will be used to establish baseline standards for monitoring the effectiveness of fatality prevention strategies.

“The department is encouraging companies to build on the information available, and develop more comprehensive hazard and risk profiles,” Mr Chaplyn said.

“In particular, job and task analyses should focus attention on critical tasks and activities were risks are heightened.”

The department has been sharing the results of the reviews with key representative groups in Perth and regional centres.

“In addition, presentations have been made at Nifty, Woodie Woodie and Telfer - the three mine sites in the Pilbara where fatal accidents have occurred this year,” Mr Chaplyn said.

The analysis is also published on the department’s website, and hard copies will be posted to all registered mine managers, and safety and health managers and representatives.

Copies of the report will also be distributed during DMP’s Mines Safety Roadshow in October and through DMP’s regional offices.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion released the Serious Injuries Report on Monday.

Mr Marmion said the Serious Injuries Report was an extremely valuable resource for everyone involved in Western Australia’s mining industry.

"The simple concept of 'golden safety rules' can reinforce critical awareness and controls, such as never start work if there is a risk of falling from height, never stand under anything that can fall on you and never place any part of your body where it can be crushed," Mr Marmion said.

“Despite a fatality free year in 2012 and six deaths in 2009, there have been on average two to three deaths per year on WA mine sites, however, this report identifies that there are on average approximately 200 high consequence injuries every twelve months which have very similar causal factors to fatalities.

“Reviewing the rate of high severity injuries including amputations, fractures and crush injuries could help provide key indicators so more efforts can be focused on critical activities which have been shown can link to serious injuries or fatalities.”

The report is available to download on the department’s website.

DMP has analysed 658 serious injuries in developing safety report.