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#1

mbasko
Member
From: Central West NSW
Joined: 27 January 2015
Posts: 4,978
Member
17 December 2020 02:56 pm

Small scale mining isn't all fun & games. There are some very real risks & responsibilities involved:

"The NSW Resources Regulator has welcomed the $70,000 fine and conviction of Mr Tony Glenn Cummings for an incident that resulted in the death of a worker at Mineral Claim 44507 in the Mulga Rush Opal Fields, near Lightning Ridge."
"Mr Cummings was the owner of the hoist installed at the mine. The Court found Mr Cummings had a duty to ensure, in so far as reasonably practicable, the hoist was without risk to the health and safety of any person and his capacity to influence and control the hoist imposed a duty on him to take the steps to modify the hoist. The failure to modify the hoist was a cause of Mr Siegal being exposed to a risk of death or serious injury."
https://www.prospectingaustralia.com.au … case-1.pdf


Everything we use comes from mining or farming.

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#2

Dihusky
Member
From: Gold Coast, QLD
Joined: 16 June 2017
Posts: 1,421
Member
18 December 2020 07:59 pm

That might put the wind up a few miners, there's some pretty rickety gear used in small mining operations. sad

2 users like this post: grubstake, Gilly47

#3

Martyz
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Joined: 02 January 2019
Posts: 159
Member
19 December 2020 06:35 am

You can see why mining is such a heavily regulated industry. When it goes wrong the stakes are high. I’ll bet that the miner has probably lost a good mate in this incident and has now been hit with a huge fine which will probably cripple him financially.
If the proceeds go into paying for the investigation and subsequent improvements in understanding safety for everyone then I guess it’s his price to pay.

#4

aussiefarmer
Member
Joined: 26 July 2015
Posts: 4,343
Member
19 December 2020 08:36 am

Excellent presentation and shows the facts , i enjoyed that and my call is they should have a way of locking the track or some sort of pin brake on the trolley to be used any time people need to pass under a raised trolley and make them mandatory.


Wish in one hand and poo in the other , See which one fills up first !

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#5

Dihusky
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From: Gold Coast, QLD
Joined: 16 June 2017
Posts: 1,421
Member
19 December 2020 12:23 pm

I don't know exactly how it works but there is a mechanical system on lifts that automatically locks the lift to the guide rails if the lift descend speed is too high, very similar situation. I believe it is triggered by a centrifugal throw out mechanism on the guide wheels which then activates a set of wedges that grab the rails, heavier the weight the greater the locking force.

There'd be something similar in the various lifts and passenger systems in mines. Surely someone would be able to adapt this to these smaller systems. What price a life, if you can't afford safety, don't go mining.

Last edited by Dihusky (19 December 2020 12:27 pm)

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#6

nucopia
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From: Gone Bush
Joined: 07 July 2015
Posts: 3,672
Member
20 December 2020 09:01 am

Have I missed something?
It’s alarming that the manufacturer was allowed to design build and market a machine that could in certain situations become so dangerous for those using it. The machine should have had a fail safe built into the design , rather than selling a machine that required the user to modify the machine to prevent injury or death when the machine failed after they bought it.

Last edited by nucopia (20 December 2020 09:15 am)


every day is an adventure

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#7

mbasko
Member
From: Central West NSW
Joined: 27 January 2015
Posts: 4,978
Member
20 December 2020 01:48 pm

nucopia wrote:

Have I missed something?
It’s alarming that the manufacturer was allowed to design build and market a machine that could in certain situations become so dangerous for those using it. The machine should have had a fail safe built into the design , rather than selling a machine that required the user to modify the machine to prevent injury or death when the machine failed after they bought it.

Here's a link to the full investigation report.
https://www.resourcesregulator.nsw.gov. … -44507.pdf
Some key findings from the report:

The hoist involved in the incident was known as a ‘super hoist’ and was used through-out the mining fields of Lightning Ridge. The hoist was manufactured by Ag-Fab Pty Ltd of Goondiwindi. Records obtained by the department reveal Ag-Fab Pty Ltd went into liquidation in 2009 and the company owner died several months later. Investigators attempted to locate business records for Ag-Fab Pty Ltd without success.

The risk of the bucket free falling was foreseeable and already known to the hoist owner and other workers. About one week before the incident, worker 2 reported the bucket free fell from the top of the hoist after it became stuck and the control panel was activated to lower the bucket. Worker 2 raised the issue with the plant owner on the afternoon of that event. However, the fault was not rectified.

On 16 November 2016, investigators attended another mineral claim (MC 59019) where they met the mine holder. The mine holder was aware of the cable over-spool issue with the Ag-Fab hoists, causing buckets to free fall. The mine holder had engineered a solution on a super hoist to detect cable over-spool, which activated a braking system, preventing the drum from turning and releasing the cable. It was reported that this engineering solution was low cost and easy to fabricate and install.
The plant owner was installing a similar device on the incident hoist to prevent a recurrence of the incident.

The investigation identified several engineering controls that could have prevented the bucket from free falling. The simplest and most inexpensive of these involves fitting a dual acting counter balance valve to the hydraulic system (figure 28), which would have braked the hydraulic motors from turning (free-wheeling), in the event the bucket acted as a counter weight while the hoist is in an over-spool scenario during loss of power.

If you're the nominated "Mine Operator" &/or "Plant Owner" then you have a lot of responsibility under the WHS Acts & Mining Act regardless of the scale of the mine.

Unfortunately there was another possibly similar incident recently but the full circumstances haven't been established yet:
https://www.prospectingaustralia.com.au … l-mine.pdf


Everything we use comes from mining or farming.

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#8

Sjc
Newbie
Joined: 18 February 2021
Posts: 3
Newbie
18 February 2021 03:15 pm

There were safety procedures put in place at the mine by the hoist owner. Procedures to secure the bucket and the 100% risk minimisation of “ never enter the sump unless the bucket is secured.” We’re golden rules.Safety officers check claims every year and have never told miners that these hoists needed extra braking systems fitted to them. The mine holder and the mine operator have never put any safety plans in place as per their responsibilities and the only safety plan was for the equipment which was put in place by Tony Cummings who was not the title holder, was not the mine operator and was not the controller acting on behalf of the mine operator. Ag fab hoists were inspected where they were fabricated and were found fit for purpose by mine safety officers. Title holder and mine operator are both completely off the hook in this accident. Some miners do their best to be as safe as possible. Others take very unnecessary Russian roulette risks and die.

2 users like this post: aussiefarmer, RM Outback

#9

Mackka
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From: Brisbane
Joined: 18 February 2014
Posts: 5,534
Member
18 February 2021 04:26 pm

Interesting first post, welcome.
Mackka

#10

Sjc
Newbie
Joined: 18 February 2021
Posts: 3
Newbie
18 February 2021 05:16 pm

Thanks for letting me post. In answer to one of the previous questions, it is procedure that the bucket must be secured with a chain at its lowest possible point( allowing access to the sump) and then there is also a steel bar that is placed under the bucket also. Without these precautions no one is to enter the sump. As mineral resources stated. It’s common knowledge that a hoist bucket can come down. Therefore all miners know to stay well away from the sump until bucket is properly secured.

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#11

RM Outback
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Joined: 10 March 2016
Posts: 6,990
Member
18 February 2021 05:44 pm

G'day Sjc welcome to PA obviously you are well versed on the topic, thanks for your comments. Can you enlighten us to your knowledge and experiences, an introduction thread is the the best place, pictures help smile beer

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#12

Sjc
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Joined: 18 February 2021
Posts: 3
Newbie
18 February 2021 08:47 pm

I am born and bred opal. My father was a pick/ shovel and windlass miner who hand sunk his own holes. My mother was was a pretty good opal cutter. I grew up with safety foremost as any parent does with kids growing up on the fields. I grew up wary of open shafts, loose rocks at the top of a hole that could hit a miner below, and moving back into the drive after the bucket was hooked onto the windlass just in case it fell. I was taught that what goes up can definitely come back down. You stayed away from moving parts and always wore proper footwear when going down the ladder. When hoists became more common it was drummed in that if the bucket stuck you went up the 2 nd egress or you waited as long as it took until the bucket made its own way down or someone came. As children this stuff is embedded into you. I know this accident. I know the people involved. I know the pain that has been suffered. I also know that there is a side to all this that isn’t reflected in the findings and my aim is to let people know the unbiased truth. This affects all miners and has turned the mines department on its head as what it has been teaching has been treated with irrelevance and has been undermined .

7 users like this post: 7.62marksman, mbasko, Syndyne, grubstake, Dihusky, Mungoman, RM Outback

#13

Syndyne
Moderator
From: Lightning Ridge, NSW
Joined: 09 April 2013
Posts: 863
Moderator
18 February 2021 09:04 pm

It's a very sad and sorry situation when these things happen -particularly given how many safety courses are run these days, but it goes to show you simply cannot beat experience in these matters. It's always been a wonder to me why the courses aren't done in practical manner by someone like myself where you can see these things in operation and have a first hand take at just how things should be done correctly. We've had zero incidents or accidents since my father started mining here in 1964.

Sjc has hit the nail on the head here. The fact that the guy went into the pit under a full bucket (secured or not) being hoisted up or, stuck in this case, was such a deadly move it's almost beyond comprehension to me that it even happened. Even if you had a solid steel bar across the shaft it would just go through it like a hot knife through butter.

With a half ton full bucket, super hoists have always been a dangerous proposition. It's also an overly complex design with several parts that are somewhat susceptible to failure under the given loads, couple that with the standard: 'she'll be right mate' attitude up here and it's just a recipe for disaster.

I've seen a couple of normal sized buckets in the 100-150kg range while full that have come down the shaft, both while full and empty (none of ours thank goodness) and it's not a pretty sight. These were mostly older hoists with rusty cables or D-shackles that simply gave out due to poor maintenance or basic neglect. They totally compress themselves under the force when full almost to a point where they are unrecognizable. It happens instantaneously even at a good depth.

In reality, I wouldn't even use a super hoist if I was given one. Not even worth the hassle.
Just my two cents anyhow.
Cheers,
Shauno.


Opal Miner & Gold Detecting Addict. GPZ7000, GPX5000, SDC2300.

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