Mind the gap — campaign shines light on void management

Tuesday, 01 August, 2023

Mind the gap — campaign shines light on void management

The NSW Resources Regulator recently conducted a targeted intervention program focusing on void management in metalliferous underground mines. The program, undertaken between March and May 2023, targeted 13 mines across NSW to assess mine operators’ awareness and implementation of amended legislation to prevent workers from falling into open voids and other related incidents.

The Regulator issued 26 work health and safety compliance notices to 10 mines, including two immediate risk, 18 contraventions and six notices of concern. Identified areas for improvement included technical training of staff and ensuring adequate forward planning to allow better sequencing of stopes to minimise the risk of failures or slumping of waste rockfill. Not all operations were found to have used a stop log or tipping block for tipping waste over a vertical edge to prevent a machine from falling into a stope.

The program was initiated in response to significant void management incidents reported to the Regulator in NSW and recent fatalities in the Queensland underground metalliferous sector. The Regulator has urged mine operators to review risk assessments and other events globally to ensure all potential risks have been assessed.

Image credit: iStock.com/Juan Jose Napuri

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