A TRUCK driver had multiple fractures to his leg after his 223-tonne mine truck ran up the rear of another truck the same size, in the second serious reportable incident in quick succession at the Bulga open-cut mine near Singleton.
The accident happened three weeks ago on Monday, July 23, and is disclosed in the NSW Resources Regulator’s latest public bulletin.
It follows a June 26 incident in which a Bulga drilling rig was suspended over the edge of a 50-metre drop and had to be pulled back by bulldozers.
Both incidents happened at night.
In the latest incident, the regulator said a 28-year-old labour-hire worker was driving an empty haul truck at the Bulga mine at about 3.45am.
Another 223-tonne truck was stopped on the haul road in front, waiting to give way to other vehicles entering the haul road.
Mine accident investigators said the driver failed to stop, and ran into the rear of the stationary truck, which was also empty.
The impact drove the stationary vehicle forward by about 17 metres.
“The front of the worker’s haul truck impacted with the rear edge of the second truck, crushing the operator’s cabin and trapping the worker inside,” the regulator’s report said.
The 28-year-old was released from the truck by the mine rescue team, and taken to hospital, where he was treated for “multiple fractures to his right leg and a small laceration to the face”.
The driver of the second truck was not injured.
The regulator said Bulga Coal and the labour-hire company that provided the driver were co-operating with its investigation.
“Preliminary enquiries indicate that fatigue may be a causal factor,” the regulator said.
Warning mine management and workers about the dangers of fatigue during “monotonous work such as driving haul trucks”, the regulator referred to a similar accident at Maules Creek in April, when a 100-tonne Caterpillar service truck and a fully-laden 500-tonne Hitachi haul truck collided in daylight at mine haul road intersection.
The service truck was badly damaged and its 43-year-old driver was flown by Westpac rescue helicopter to hospital.
Meanwhile, a dispute over the amount of long service leave payable to a number of Bloomfield Group employees was the subject of an Industrial Relations Commission teleconference on Tuesday. A number of employees of Bloomfield subsidiary Four Mile Pty Ltd believe they are eligible for black coal long service leave, which is more generous than the metal industry rate they have received.
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