The NSW Resources Regulator recently issued a safety alert after a bulldozer operator at an open-cut coal mine was unable to activate its fire suppression system in an emergency.
A Caterpillar D10T bulldozer was operating at an open-cut coal mine when a fire broke out in the engine bay.
The operator saw smoke and flames and tried to activate the fire suppression system, but the valve and panel cover was separated from the mounting bracket when trying to withdraw the safety pin.
Not knowing if the system could still be activated, the operator reversed a short distance, lowered the access ladder and pressed the red emergency button. With flames licking up through gaps around the deck plate, the operator exited the cabin via the left-hand door and jumped from the deck about 3 metres to the ground.
The operator was not injured and went to the rear of the machine to shut down the engine. The fire suppression system then activated automatically.
The alert made a number of recommendations and said that where mines have rotary-style fire suppression system actuators, mine operators should review or develop a site standard for fire suppression system actuator panel configuration. This standard should:
Mine operators should also: