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Preventing inrushes at underground mines

Health and Safety Executive - Safety Alert
Department Name: Specialised Industries Division - Mines Inspectorate
Bulletin No: HID 4-2011
Issue Date: 23 September 2011
Target Audience: Mining: Owners and managers of mines producing coal or other minerals
Key Issues: To remind owners and managers of producing mines of the precautions to be taken against inrushes and to request owners confirm that such measures are being taken at the mines that they operate.

Introduction:

The purpose of this safety alert is to:

Background:

The recent inrush of water and material at Gleision Mine in South Wales which resulted in the deaths of four miners is a tragic reminder of the major hazard potential of uncontrolled inflows to mine workings. The last inrush which resulted in a loss of life in a British mine was in 1973 at Lofthouse, Yorkshire where seven miners were killed.

After that incident, the Mines (Precautions Against Inrushes) Regulations 1979 were introduced requiring owners and managers of all mines to take precautions against inrushes of gas, water and material, which flows or is likely to flow when wet.

The investigation into the Gleision inrush is still in progress and it is too early to say exactly what went wrong. The Approved Code of Practice to the Mines (Precautions Against Inrushes) Regulations 1979 brings together the main statutory duties and protective measures dealing with the hazard of inrushes into mine workings. It describes the methods of identifying whether the hazard of inrush exists, assessing the extent of the risk and the measures to be taken to protect against it.

Action required:

There are four specific points for owners and managers to address:

Mine owners should write to HSE at the address below within 30 days to confirm that they have the necessary arrangements in place to ensure that these requirements are being followed. HSE will assess the information and carry out follow up inspections as necessary.

Relevant legal documents:

References:

Further information:

Specialised Industries Division
HM Inspectorate of Mines
Foundry House
3 Millsands
Riverside Exchange
Sheffield
S3 8NH

Tel: +44 (0) 114 291 2390
minesadmin@hse.gov.uk

General note:

Please pass this information to your mine surveyor and others who may have an interest.

2015-05-19