Mine workers warned of danger of drowning on site

MINERS are being warned to be careful in storms, with the Queensland Government releasing an industry-wide safety notice about the danger of drowning on site.

The bulletin was released following two recommendations from the 2011 flood inquiry that related directly to the industry.

Both of these encouraged mine management to ensure they had the most up-to-date information from the Bureau of Meteorology for both the wet season and the present.

The nature of digging into the ground means that in some areas, water can pool on the site leading to areas becoming waterlogged and unstable, or increasing the risk of flooding.

Chemicals, equipment or gas also can also become unpredictable hazards if they are moved by heavy rains.

It warned workers and management to be wary of abandoned mines, underground water channels that could add to flows, or waterways linked to the ocean that could become swollen.

Working with someone else and wearing a buoyancy vest were two recommendations for anyone operating near water.

The Department said these rules and recommendations were not exhaustive, but care had to be taken to avoid the risk of drowning or injury.

Water on the mine site can be dangerous. Queensland Department of Mining released some history on how dangerous.

  • 1989 - 6 dead in underground mine in WA after heavy rain caused the pit to flood.
  • 1996 - 4 drowned in NSW when water rushed into Gretley Colliery after machinery made a hole in the mine face.
  • 1996 - Miner drowns in 1.6m of water at bottom of wastewater lagoon near partially submerged vehicle.
  • 2010 - Flooding traps 153 in Chinese coal mine when workers accidentally dug into old water-filled shafts.
  • 2012 - Water rushed into mine after sustained rain.
  • 2012 - Mining bobcat rolls in normally dry area where water pooled. Worker narrowly avoids drowning after kicking out back window and escaping.

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