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Fortescue Mine Death - Lack of Detailed Safe Work Procedures

Friday, January 17, 2014

An initial report into the death of a worker at a Fortescue Metals mine in December says there was no detailed safe work procedure for the installation of an operator's cabin on a mining machine.

Contractor Allen Zuvela, 33, was killed in late December while installing the operator's cabin on a surface miner machine with another worker at Fortescue's Christmas Creek iron ore mine in the Pilbara in Western Australia's North West.

The report from the West Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum said the rigging arrangement between the cab and an overhead crane failed, and the cab fell in an arc crushing Mr Zuvela and the other worker.

The safety report does not name the company but outlines the details of the accident which occurred during night shift.

The other worker was seriously injured and suffered hand and leg injuries.

The cab weighed about 2.5 tonnes and was suspended from an overhead crane.

It says there was "no detailed safe work procedure" for the cab installation and it appears the rigging practices were inadequate.

The report also says the maintenance manual for the surface miner did not contain key information such as the weight of the cab.

It says the workers were in "the line of fire" when the cab fell.

The report also outlines action required to be taken.

It says managers and supervisors need to conduct detailed risk assessments for work associated with or near suspended loads, identify stored energy hazards and put proper safety measures in place.

It also says that areas that could be in the line of fire should be clearly identified during the risk assessment.

The report also mentioned shift handover, saying that incoming workers had to be given enough information to continue a job in a safe manner.

The cab was fitted by day shift workers but the job was handed over to the night shift for completion.

The accident prompted the department to order FMG to improve safety at all its mines.

The report comes as the mine's regulator says it is also investigating four incidents which happened this month at the company's Solomon Hub iron ore mines in the Pilbara.

The incidents at the Solomon mines include a worker badly bruising a knee in a forklift accident, a breach of safety procedures when three drillers were 50 metres inside a 500 metre blast exclusion zone when an explosion went off, and two other incidents involving a water truck rolling over and a near miss with another water truck.

The Solomon mines are operated by construction giant, Leighton Holdings.

Fortescue has defended its safety record.

The Chief executive, Nev Power, said in a recent address to workers that safety was the company's highest priority.

Courtesy:  ABC News


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