Safety Bulletins

Serious Harm. Breaking-out!

Background - Noggin INC1281 20/08/18

A breaking-out team of 3 had just completed a line change. The head breaker-out (HBO) positioned himself 17-meters behind the block as he observed the tail rope passing through before re-starting extraction.

A piece of log was disturbed by the returning rope and slid down the rope gaining momentum. The piece of wood eventually end-for-ended toward the HBO and struck him fracturing his arm, dislocating his elbow and puncturing his lung.

Qualifications and Experience - 10 years plus; L4 Unit 1258 - Coordinate breaking-out for a cable harvesting operation; L4 Unit 17771 Carry out line shifts in a cable harvesting operation.

Immediate and Root Cause Factors - The HBO was undertaking a standard practice - observing the safe functioning of the working block prior to re-starting.

Technically speaking, the HBO was standing in a safe position to do this observation. However, the contact (and subsequent injury) points to the need for a safer observation position and guidelines to direct the thinking of the breaker-outs in such circumstances. This work will be completed as a project.

Zero Tolerance Committee Project Components:

  • Secure two Contractors and a team of HBO to review and comment on this incident. Consider options that would make the observation position safer including tools e.g. binoculars or drones. 
  • Develop a guidance document for working around blocks.
  • Gain wider/regional approval (through the Zero Tolerance Committee) to publish the project results for example as an addition to the Safe OP Safe Retreat Position.

View this article in Safety Bulletin 115