An equipment contractor was recently fined $11,000 in the Esperance Magistrates Court for failing to provide a safe working environment after a telehandler rolled over and endangered two workers he was supervising.
The incident, which occurred at the Ravensthorpe nickel mine on 11 January 2017, involved Daniel Malcolm Parker and four of his employees attempting to move a pipe assembly weighing more than three tonnes, by slinging it to the telehandler’s headboard.
When one of the slings broke, the load shifted causing the vehicle to roll on to its side.
A number of factors contributed to the incident; the worker who slung the load did not hold an appropriate high-risk licence, the slings were in poor condition and the telehandler operator was inexperienced and had not been trained to use the vehicle as a crane.
FQM Australia Nickel which operates the mine had contracted Southern Engineering and Agriculture (SEA) to remove and then reinstate piping around a tailings dam.
Parker is a partner at SEA, an Esperance-based family business.
The rollover could have been far more serious, said Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety acting director mines safety Christina Folley.
“It was only luck that saved the vehicle operator and a worker in the area from being injured during the rollover.
“The telehandler was not rated to lift the pipe assembly or equipped to lift suspended loads, and this exposed Mr Parker and his employees to unacceptable hazards.
“Incidents like these are an important and constant reminder - mining operators should make safety an absolute priority by putting in place the required procedures and protections to safeguard workers.”