Laurence Thomas 2000

08/03/2000 - Goonyella Riverside Mine - Fall / Operator cabin crashed

The BWE experienced a major structural failure resulting in the counterweight collapsing followed by the bucket wheel. The operator's cabin then fell to the ground. Mr Thomas, who was in the operator's cabin, was injured as a result of the cabin crashing to the ground due to the failure of the cabin support system.


1. Major structures inclusive of modifications and repairs shall be subject to stress analysis by Certified Structural Engineers to identify critical elements.

2. Critical elements to be monitored and the results audited to ensure continued effectiveness.  Visual inspection alone will not meet this requirement. The monitoring shall take into account the age and duty cycle.

3. The results of critical element inspection need to be audited for compliance with the scope of work.

4. Where suspended operators cabins form part of plant, risk management processes need to be used to minimise the risk of injury to operators in the event of uncontrolled movement of the cabin.

5. Where practicable permanent access should be provided to allow inspection for all critical structural elements.

6. The newly introduced Coal Mining Safety and Health Regulation 2001 contains a number of requirements for the safety of persons working on or near plant that were not previously a requirement of the 1925 Act and regulations. Compliance with these Regulations should be assessed as soon as possible to ensure that mine management systems conform to them as a minimum.

7. Persons required to perform major roles in incident investigation need to have risk assessment and accident investigation training.

8. Incident reports need to include all relevant information including causal analysis.