Five fall prevention tips

Friday, 29 June, 2012

NSW Trade & Investment recently issued a safety alert after a mine worker suffered serious injuries, including the loss of his leg, after falling about 14 m down a mine shaft. Rob Regan, Director of the Department’s Mine Safety Operations Branch, has asked that the alert and knowledge of its contents is distributed to all relevant parties in mining companies. It should also be placed on the mine’s noticeboard.

The incident occurred when workers were attempting to calibrate load cells associated with a hoisting shaft loading station, near the bottom of a hoisting shaft.

A steel-framed basket containing weights was placed into a front end loader bucket. The basket was unrestrained and overhanging the front lip of the bucket.

Two workers wearing full body harnesses were positioned either side of the basket. Each harness was attached to the loader bucket by a rope lanyard. The worker who fell was attempting to attach slings from the basket onto chains that had earlier been hung from a weigh flask.

The front end loader was stationary, but while raising and levelling the bucket it seems that a movement of the bucket caused the basket to fall. The worker fell from the bucket, his rope lanyard failed and he plunged to the bottom of the shaft.

It is highly likely that the professional and quick response by the mine’s rescue team saved the worker’s life.


Review current practices and:

1. Prohibit people from working in the bucket of a front end loader or other similar apparatus.

2. When working at heights:

3. When lifting people:

  • Ensure compliance with the provisions of clause 219 and clause 220 of the WHSR, in particular that the persons are lifted or suspended in a work box.
  • Use fit-for-purpose elevated work platforms with consideration to AS 2550 and AS 1418.10. (Note: Elevated work platforms manufactured after 1 Dec 2003 must be design registered.)

4. When meeting your obligations under Part 3.1 WHSR (Managing risks to health and safety), ensure:

  • Risk control measures are implemented in accordance with the hierarchy of controls.
  • Safe systems of work are:
    - developed through competent people,
    - developed through effective consultation,
    - effectively communicated,
    - consistent with established methodologies - refer to Risk Management Standard AS/NZS ISO 31000.

5. In accordance with clause 37 and clause 38 of the WHSR, ensure competent people are involved in reviewing the adequacy and maintenance of risk controls.

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