2017 Daniel Springer

05/08/2017 - Goonyella Riverside Mine - Cutting and Welding

An employee of Independent Mining Services (IMS), Mr Daniel Springer, was fatally injured on 5 August 2017 while he was performing maintenance on the outside of an excavator bucket at the Goonyella Riverside Mine. The work involved removing an external wear plate of the bucket by cutting it into smaller pieces. While performing a cut, part of the plate unexpectedly sprung up and struck Mr Springer in the head.

Ambulances were called to the site in the early hours of Saturday morning and the miner was transported to Mackay Base Hospital and then to Townsville Hospital.

In a statement BMA confirmed a contractor from Independent Mining Services died as a result of injuries sustained in an incident that occurred during maintenance work at the Goonyella Riverside mine on August 5 2017.

This accident claimed the life of Daniel Springer


Recommendation 1

Excavator buckets: It is recommended that multiple smaller wear plates are used in an alternative wear package. (See Figure 16). This design is consistent with the OEM design and is safer because the elastic spring-back potential is much lower than for the large wear plate design used in the incident bucket.

Recommendation 2

Other equipment: The hazard of elastic spring-back is not limited to excavator buckets.

Since the incident, anecdotal- and other evidence found from similar operations highlighted the hazards associated with plate structures that had been indented. A range of equipment types were involved. The common factor for all was that plate material had been plastically and elastically deformed during operations, resulting in residual stresses that later released violently.

Incidents included:

In two similar but separate incidents, workers were struck whilst removing indented sections near the rim of rear dump truck trays. Injuries occurred.

Violent elastic spring-back was observed during the removal of an under-tub wear plate from a dragline. The plate had probably been indented when the dragline was walked over an uneven surface.

A worker was struck on the head when a wear strip on an excavator bucket sprung out whilst he was gouging a weld that attached it to the bucket.

A worker was hit whilst he was removing a wear liner (push pad) from a dozer blade.

It is recommended that the above be considered before indented plate sections from any equipment are cut for removal.

Recommendation 3

All mines to ensure that they have a procedure within their SHMS that requires an effective risk management process to be carried out on any modification being made to plant and equipment prior to the modification being carried out.

Recommendation 4

If a modification to plant and equipment is changing the OEM’s design the above procedure must require the mine to consult with the OEM and / or an appropriate technical expert, such as an expert in materials and metallurgical engineering, prior to the modification being carried out.