BMA bans large wear plates after miner’s death
BMA banned the use of large wear plates across all its sites following the death of a contracting boilermaker at a Central Queensland mine.
Mackay Coroners Court has heard evidence the wear plate Daniel Springer had been working on when he died on August 5, 2017 at Goonyella Riverside Mine was of almost "unprecedented" dimensions.
The 30-year-old Independent Mining Services worker had been removing a damaged 2 x 3.4 metre wear plate from an excavator bucket by cutting it into smaller more manageable pieces when a section sprang out about 650mm, due to stored energy, fatally striking him in the head.
A coronial inquest heard the job Mr Springer had been completing on the RH340 bucket had been deemed "emergent work" - the bucket had been in continuous use for two years.
Multiple witnesses have told the coronial inquest that while the dangers of wear plate removal were generally known, that level of spring back would have been unexpected.
The work was also being done onsite at the mine's bucket shop for the first time, rather than being sent offsite for repairs or replacements.
The court yesterday heard that a risk assessment of hot works areas, such as the bucket shop where Mr Springer was working, completed in March 2015 noted eight risks but stored energy was not identified as a safety hazard despite a general awareness that plates move and can spring back.
BMA supervisor Kevin McDonald, who was the manager of all maintenance activities, did not accept that stored energy should have been identified in the 2015 risk assessment.
Mr McDonald said that based on the reference material provided to the group undertaking the risk assessment there had been no previous recording of spring back events.
A Mines Inspectorate Report revealed the severity to Mr Springer was about four times greater than the nominal survival head impact.
Mr McDonald, in his statement to the Inspectorate that was displayed during the inquest, said he had not received training during his boilermaking apprenticeship on this type of spring back and "he had never seen a plate move in a way that would make me think that it was a risk".
There were five RH340 buckets, including the one linked to Mr Springer's death, with three attached to excavators and two spares. The court heard evidence the spare buckets were in as bad shape as the ones in use and the urgency to have them fixed was to avoid a failure while in use.
Mr McDonald told the court that since Mr Springer's death there was now BMA-side procedure when it came to wear plates in general and that large wear plates have been banned across all sites.
The inquest continues.