Structural failure: Overburden Drill Mast

Mines safety alert no. 376 | 27 August 2020 | Version 1

What happened?

On 19 August 2020 a carousel wear plate, weighing approximately 1 kilogram, fell from a height of 12 metres from the drill mast and landed on the deck of the drill near the cab door. The Mines Inspectorate is aware that this is not an isolated incident, having raised Safety Alerts on similar incidents previously.


All mines should immediately audit all mobile plant structures to determine the integrity of structures and fixings. The audit should consider:

  • Introduction of plant process for site.
  • If the structure is fit for purpose.
  • Cracking in stress zones.
  • Cracking of welds and parent metals.
  • Condition of welds.
  • Condition of fasteners.
  • Security of fasteners.
  • Fatigue life of components.
  • Site prestart records for mobile plant.

Mines should review their maintenance strategies for structures and equipment to:

  • Confirm that suitable structural inspections are in place.
  • Confirm that the structural inspection is relevant and applicable to the potential failure modes.
  • Confirm that the frequency of the structural inspections is adequate to identify potential failures before they become actual failures.

OEMs should be consulted in the review and development of inspection programs.

Safety Alert Purpose

  1. Draw attention to the occurrence of a serious incident in the mining industry
  2. Increase risk awareness
  3. Promote mines to examine and check their controls are adequate

The investigations are ongoing and further information may be published as it becomes available.

The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing.

Authorised by Peter Newman - Chief Inspector of Coal Mines
Contact: Michael Scully, Inspector of Mines, 0459 878 917

Issued by Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy

Safety: This information is a guide only and is issued to promote safety through experience. It is not to be taken as a statement of law and must not be construed to waive or modify any legal obligation.; General: This information is a guide only. It is not to be taken as a statement of law and must not be construed to waive or modify any legal obligation.; Placement: Place this announcement on noticeboards and ensure all relevant people in your organisation receive a copy.

Find more safety alerts and bulletins

Search the hazards database