Geoffrey Barling 1999

27/06/1999 - Cannington Mine - Fall

Mr Geoffrey Michael BARLING received serious injuries at the BHP Cannington Mine when he fell approximately 13 metres to the bottom of the Fowler Shaft.  The accident occurred at about 13.38 hours on Sunday, 27 June 1999. 

Immediately prior to the accident, Mr Barling was suspended in a Bosun’s chair in the Fowler Shaft at the Tail Rope Change Area at the 629 metre level where he was attempting to gain access to the top of the cheese weights.

The work to be performed included the removal of pipes from the guide ropes attached to the cheese weights.  When this was completed, the guide ropes were to be cleaned and lubricated.

Mr Barling was being supervised and assisted on this task by Mr Anthony Farcich, a person appointed under the provisions of Section 34A of the Mines Regulation Act 1964.


Immediately prior to entering the shaft, Mr Barling and Mr Farcich had inspected the area and filled in a Job Safe Analysis (JSA) Sheet.

A new Moxham Rescue Master portable rescue system including a Bosun’s chair was suspended in the shaft.  This was slung from a beam in the centre of the shaft using a two metre long polyester sling.


Mr Barling had strapped himself into the Bosun’s chair and associated harness and lowered himself into the shaft.

After descending a short distance, he stopped to make some adjustment to the ropes when the Bosun’s chair parted from the rope pulley system.  Mr Barling fell to the bottom of the shaft some 10 to 13 metres below and received serious injuries


We concur with the elements identified in the corrective action report No #04259 and would recommend that the Chief Inspector of Mines commission a comprehensive physical and systems audit to ensure that this corrective action has in fact been fully implemented.

In situations where persons are exposed to significant hazards or unfamiliar tasks, an appropriately qualified supervisor should be provided to ensure that safety procedures and safe work methods are followed.

That lifting gear registers contain all relevant information and are signed by the person who carried out the inspection.

That the Chief Inspector publish and distribute a hazard alert regarding the inappropriate attachment of identification tags on lifting or like equipment. This hazard alert should be distributed to all manufacturers, suppliers and users of industrial safety belts and harnesses.

That all employees be exposed to competency based training in hazard identification and appropriate control actions.

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