NSW: Opal miner injured by falling material

Tuesday, 8 November, 2016 - 11:00
Industry news


An opal miner working in NSW recently suffered a spinal injury when he tried to close a hopper door with a star picket and was struck by falling mullock.

The worker was investigating a hopper door malfunction on the surface at an opal mine, and he used a star picket to push the door closed when material ejected from the hopper, striking him.

NSW Mine Safety inspectors examined the hopper and found that the refuse material was moist and caused a build up inside the walls.

This in turn caused the exit door to jam open and not seal correctly.

A number of recommendations were subsequently made in a safety alert following the incident:

  • Ensure that a risk assessment is carried out before undertaking unfamiliar tasks.
  • Assess the potential for rocks and debris to fall and cause injury.
  • Where there is any potential for material to fall from a height which may result in injury, take effective means to prevent such injuries.
  • Any area where materials can accidentally fall onto people should be classified as a danger zone and appropriate guards and warning signs must be provided.
  • Ensure workers are trained and competent in the use of blower extraction systems.
  • Ensure that equipment being used is fit for purpose.