With a string of mine-related accidents in Australia, and Queensland recently implementing a state-wide safety reorganisation, the New South Wales (NSW) Resource Regulator Mechanical Engineering Safety Seminar on mine safety encouraged the attendees to appraise risk management practices by a host of key industry speakers.
The event, themed ‘Where do I stand?’, attracted more than 270 engineers, mine workers, manufacturers, contractors and industry specialists.
Participants involved in mechanical engineering were challenged to reflect on their systems, performance, processes and equipment. In particular, assessing their engineering standards and technology, and to reflect on the risks other mines had managed and the safety they had in place.
NSW Resources Regulator Principal Inspector Mechanical Engineering Ben Withers said what they really wanted to get across at the seminar was that mining safety isn’t just a ‘tick box’ exercise but something that requires real thought, planning and reflection.
“As the industry changes, expands and embraces new technologies, engineers must continually monitor and assess the controls they have in place to manage mining risks.
“This wasn’t a finger pointing exercise – it wasn’t about highlighting any particular mine’s problems. Instead, it was about encouraging the seminar attendees to take a moment, step back, and really think about how their safety processes are performing.”
Mr Withers said industry-wide proactive thinking was required when it came to safety processes at mines, and mechanical engineers were in a unique position to see and manage risks.
“The NSW Resources Regulator has responded to a broad range of incidents over the past 12 months, including incidents related to hazards and risks that were well known in the mining industry like fluid under pressure, lifting and towing, fires on mobile plant and road registered vehicles operating in mine sites.
“These kinds of risks aren’t new and can be managed.”