John Maher 2000

30/08/2000 - Cook Colliery - Fall, Strata, Crush Injury / Trapped against continuous miner, Rib Fall

On 30 August 2000, a mining crew consisting of five men was extracting coal from the 12 East panel at the Cook Colliery using a remote controlled continuous miner. Shortly after 9.00am a fall of coal from the left-hand side lodged against the side of the continuous miner while sump mining in sub-panel 1, activating an emergency stop button. The continuous miner shut down and attempts to restart the miner by remote control were unsuccessful. Some breaker props were installed in the area and three members of the crew then took turns from behind the props to attempt to break up or remove coal from the side of the miner on the basis that this would allow the miner to be re-started and trammed out of the sump.

At about 9.30 am, JOHN ANTHONY MAHER entered the area between the left-hand rib and the continuous miner which was still in a sump in Sub-Panel 1. Suddenly and without any warning noise, a large block of coal dislodged from the rib and trapped Mr Maher against the side of the continuous miner. The rest of the crew then took action immediately and removed Mr Maher. Although it was first thought that the injuries to Mr Maher were not serious, it was ascertained after the rescue the injuries were serious and CPR and EAR was commenced until the ambulance arrived. On the surface a doctor examined Mr Maher and pronounced life extinct.


This accident claimed the life of John Anthony Maher


1. Risk Assessment and Application of Controls

2. Recovery of Machines from Unsupported Areas

3. Panel Design and Work Method Control