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.
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:
- Pressurised refuelling systems 1: Lessons learned
- Pressurised refuelling systems 2: Process overview.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Mining warden inquiries 1972-2001
- Moura mining disaster inquiry reports (Kianga No. 1, Moura No. 4 and Moura No. 2)
- Box Flat Colliery mining accident inquiry report.
- Coal, mineral and quarrying industries fatality report (XLS, 453KB)—this report covers fatal accidents in the coal, metalliferous and quarrying sectors from 1877 to the present. The report includes the date, location, and a brief description of each incident.
For later inquiries, visit the Coroners Court website.
- Last reviewed: 21 Nov 2018
- Last updated: 25 Aug 2021