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Preventing Injury - Brand-New Research Has Offered Up Potential Control Measures For High Priority Hazards Associated With Underground Coal Mining Equipment.
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    Working with or near underground coal mining equipment is hazardous because of the multiple sources of energy and adverse environmental conditions. Of the 4169 injuries reported to Coal Services during the three years to June 2005,447 were associated with continuous miners, 232 with LHD (load-haul- dump) vehicles, 140 with shuttle cars, and 140 with personnel transport - a total of 959, or 23% of all injuries reported during the period. An analysis of the injury narratives accompanying these injury claims highlights a number of opportunities for controlling injury risks. Using the frequency of reported injuries for the prioritisation of risk control strategies has limitations because of the tendency to underestimate the importance of relatively uncommon but potentially high consequence events. Injury reports also underestimate the contribution of risk factors such as whole body vibration, which have a long-term cumulative contribution to an elevated risk of injury. However, taking these limitations into consideration, the results of the injury narrative analysis suggests the following hazards as the highest priority for elimination or control: • handling continuous miner cable • strain while bolting • slipping off continuous miner platform • inadvertent or incorrect operation of bolting controls, and operation of controls while a person is in a position of danger • hitting potholes or other roadway abnormality • collisions while driving underground vehicles
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