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Investigator reveals details about the moments leading up to Cadia worker's catastrophic injury

July 10, 2023

An image from the Resources Regulator's update.

By Peter Holmes

Details have been released about the serious incident at Cadia East Underground Mine last month that led to a worker's left arm being amputated below the elbow.

The NSW Resources Regulator for Regional NSW said that the injury was sustained on June 19, 2023 when a worker was fitting a steel drill to a Jumbo drill rig.

The injured worker was one of a number employed by Face Mining Services Pty Ltd, which provides labour hire services to the mine, the regulator said.

An image from the Resources Regulator's update.
An image from the Resources Regulator's update.

"A Jumbo operator and an offsider were developing an underground drive in the mine ... at 8.55pm on 19 June 2023," the report stated. "A Jumbo drill rig was being used to conduct drilling, bolting, and meshing for installing ground support ..."

The report said one of the offsider's tasks was "changing various components on the booms of the Jumbo as the ground support work progressed".

"Immobiliser switches used to isolate power to the booms are positioned on the front left and right sides of the Jumbo," it added. "The offsider approached the front of the Jumbo to change a component on the right hand boom, which was angled back towards the left side of the Jumbo.

"The worker inserted a 3.7 metre drill steel into the coupling of the right hand boom as the coupling rotated.

"The offsider’s left arm became entangled on the rotating drill steel, resulting in traumatic amputation to his left arm below the elbow."

An emergency response was activated resulting in the offsider being transported to the surface and then airlifted to hospital for treatment.

The Resources Regulator said that initial information indicated the injured worker was engaged as a concrete truck driver "and was tasked with assisting the Jumbo operator for several days before, and on the day of the incident".

The NSW Resources Regulator is investigating the cause and circumstances of the incident.

It will explore, among other things:

1. The system of work at the mine for changing drill components on a Jumbo drill rig;

2. The operation and mechanical condition of the Jumbo drill rig, including isolation points;

3. The instruction, training, experience, and supervision of workers;

4. The adequacy of risk assessments, work instructions and procedures relevant to the incident;

5. Work practices of the Jumbo operator and offsider as well as other Jumbo operators and offsiders.

"The mine operator and other parties are assisting with the investigation," the regulator said.

A report will be published when the investigation is concluded.

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