Investigations, inquiries and inquests

Resources Safety & Health Queensland (RSHQ) is responsible for promoting, improving and regulating the safety and health of workers in the mining, explosives, petroleum and gas industries in Queensland.

RSHQ recognises the importance of sharing information with industry, workers and the public to:

  • raise awareness about risks that may affect the safety and health of workers
  • promote good safety and health practice in industry
  • deter practices and behaviours that endanger the safety and health of workers.

This may include publishing reports about investigations into safety and health incidents in Queensland's mineral and energy resources sector, where it is in the public interest to do so.

Investigation reports

Fatality during excavator bucket wear plate removal - technical learnings

In August 2017, Mr Daniel Springer suffered a fatal injury at Goonyella Riverside mine during maintenance works on the underside of an excavator bucket. Daniel was progressively removing large wear plates by arc air gouging them into small pieces. During gouging, a large portion of the wear plate suddenly sprang away from the bucket and struck him.

The subsequent investigations and coronial inquest found that across the coal mining industry as a whole there is generally an insufficient knowledge of what can cause a build-up of tension in steel plates such as these surface wear plates. Spring-back occurs faster than any human can react, therefore ‘getting out of the way’ is not possible. Workers have to be outside the danger zone, or the residual stress must be released in a controlled manner.

The hazard of spring-back is not limited to excavator buckets and applies to a range of equipment deformed or damaged by wear increasing the potential for violent release of metal during removal processes.

Read Fatality During Excavator Bucket Wear Plate Removal – Technical Learnings (PDF, 2.9MB), which discusses the mechanism by which stored elastic energy can be generated and strategies for identifying stored energy and reducing the risk of a similar incident.

Site Senior Executives are encouraged to review the technical learnings and implement measures to minimise the risk of spring-back occurring when working with plant and equipment where stored elastic energy may be present

Learnings from pressurised refuelling incidents

Earth-moving equipment re-fuelling incidents are periodically reported to the Mines Inspectorate. Some of these incidents have resulted in serious accidents and loss of plant and equipment.

Investigations by a mining company identified:

  • incorrect refuelling practices
  • environmental damage
  • fire events when fuel contacts hot surfaces.

To communicate lessons learned from an incident investigation, view the following animated presentations:

Site Senior Executives are encouraged to use these videos in presentations delivered to mine workers involved with re-fuelling equipment.

Irrespirable atmosphere in a mine or quarry – incident learnings and recommendations

This report summarises several incidents that have occurred in recent years in Queensland mines and quarries where a worker was exposed to an irrespirable atmosphere. It states the contributing factors and makes recommendations to industry with the aim of highlighting risk controls which must be implemented and verified to prevent the unwanted outcomes of worker injury and death.

Read Irrespirable atmosphere in a mine or quarry – incident learnings and recommendations (PDF, 640KB)

North Goonyella High Potential Incident

On 1 September 2018, all coal mine workers were withdrawn from the underground workings at North Goonyella coal mine as a precautionary measure in response to rising methane levels at the longwall.

Read the preliminary observations from the Mines Inspectorate (PDF, 190KB).

Fatality at Goonyella Riverside Mine, Queensland, on 5 August 2017

On 5 August 2017, an employee of Independent Mining Services, Mr Daniel Springer, was fatally injured, while performing maintenance on the outside of an excavator bucket at the Goonyella Riverside Mine.

Read the Report into a fatality at Goonyella Riverside Mine on 5 August 2017 (PDF, 2.7MB).

Winder brake failure at Osborne Mine, Queensland, on 1 March 2015

On 10 February 2015, there was a high-potential incident at the Osborne Mine resulting in the rope on the fixed winder drum detaching from the skip/cage.

Read the Report into winder brake failure at Osborne Mine, on 1 March 2015 (PDF, 1.3MB).

Fatality at the Grasstree coal mine, Middlemount, Queensland, on 6 May 2014

On 6 May 2014, a coal mine worker was fatally injured while calibrating gas detectors underground at the Grasstree coal mine.

Read the Report into a fatality at the Grasstree coal mine, Middlemount, Queensland, on 6 May 2014 (PDF, 494KB).

Fatality at the Newlands Mine Coal Handling and Preparation Plant on 30 August 2016

On the morning of 30 August 2016, a contract worker was fatally injured by a falling deck plate that he and 3 other workers were in the process of removing.

Read the Report into a fatality at the Newlands Mine Coal Handling and Preparation Plan, Newlands, Queensland on 30 August 2016 (PDF, 712KB).

Inquiries, inquests and other reports

Before 2001, inquiries into fatal and serious accidents were carried out by the mining warden in the mining warden's court. Read the following publications for more information:

For later inquiries, visit the Coroners Court website.

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