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Falls Of Ground Incidents - Reporting Year 2000/2001

Contents

Introduction

1. This report summarises the fall of ground dangerous occurrences and major injury accidents at mines during the 2000/2001 reporting year.

2. All statistics are provisional.

Dangerous Occurrences

3. "Any fall of ground not being part of the normal operations at a mine, which results from a failure of an underground support system and prevents persons from travelling through the affected area by a fall of ground or which otherwise exposes them to danger", was introduced as a dangerous occurrence at Part II/40 in RIDDOR 1995, with effect from April 1996. This is the fifth full year that such incidents have been reported to HM Inspectorate of Mines.

4. Six falls of ground dangerous occurrences were reported at mines during the year, five at coal mines and one at a large miscellaneous mine.

5. In coal mines two falls of ground occurred in main drift roads, two in main access roads and one at a junction. All the falls except the one at the junction occurred in roadways that had been excavated more than 5 years ago.

6. Corrosion of free standing steel supports was the main contributing factor in three of the incidents in coal mines. One of the incidents occurred within 23m of the surface in a main drift in an area which was wet and sheeting/belting had been used to divert the water. This covering prevented proper inspection from taking place. The other two incidents occurred in main roads, supported by free standing supports, that had been driven for some considerable time and one at a junction that had been recently excavated and supported by free standing supports.

7. The fall of ground at the miscellaneous mine occurred in a main conveying roadway at a junction that was formed in 1998.

Fall of Ground Dangerous Occurrences

Type of Support
Free standing supportstanding support 5
Miscellaneous 1
Total 6
Warning of Collapse
None 3
Less than 24 hours 1
Over 24 hours 2
Total 6
Age of Excavation
Recently driven -
6 - 12 months 1
2 to 3 years 1
Over 5 years 4
Total 6
Type of Excavation
Junction -girders 1
Junction - natural support -
Junction - props and bars 1
Roads - arches 4
Roads - props and bars -
Roads - rockbolts -
Total 6

Accidents

8. There were no fatal accidents reported this year. Thirteen major injuries were reported at coal mines compared with eleven major injuries in the previous year. There was one major injury reported at a miscellaneous mine compared with three last year.

9. At coal mines eight of the accidents occurred in places supported by free standing supports, three where powered supports were used and two in places supported by rockbolts. The majority of the accidents (57%) occurred on the day shift and 28% on the night shift.

10. Thirty eight per cent of the major injuries occurred at mines which employed less than 100 persons where very simple systems of work are used. A failure to support the coal when undercut was highlighted as the cause of several of these accidents at small mines.

11. The majority of the accidents were caused by falls of stone from the roof, generally from between supports. Falls of side accounted for the rest of the accidents.

1999/2000 2000/2001
Coal Mines - place of accident Fatal Major injury Fatal Major injury
Longwall face - 3 - 8
Headings - 7 - 4
Elsewhere - 1 - 1
Total - 11 - 13

Conclusions

12. There has been an increase on the previous year of major injury accidents caused by falls of ground from 11 to 13. Over 60% of these accidents occurred on longwall faces compared to 27% the previous year. The major cause of many accidents this year is due to a lack of caution or failure to comply with good practice or comply with codes or rules.

13. There has been an increase on the previous year of major injury accidents caused by falls of ground from 11 to 13. Over 60% of these accidents occurred on longwall faces compared to 27% the previous year. The major cause of many accidents this year is due to a lack of caution or failure to comply with good practice or comply with codes or rules.

J Arthur
HM Inspector of Mines
2012-11-27