OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 36 Mining

Section 706 Control levers

Subsection 706(1)

This section ensures mobile equipment is left with the operating lever in the neutral position so that the equipment will not move and create a danger. The lever must be designed to be removed only when the lever is in the neutral position. This prevents removal of the lever while engaged in the operating position, preventing continued unintended movement or equipment operation.

Subsection 706(2)

The use of remote controlled equipment is now common in underground coal mines. For example, in room and pillar mining where the distance from the cutting head to the driver’s cab is 6 metres, the maximum depth of cut to prevent the operator from going under the unsupported roof is 6 metres. However, the conditions may allow an extended cut of 12 metres or even 18 metres to be made. In such circumstances, the use of a radio controlled remote unit allows the operator to remain under a supported roof and still control the continuous miner machine as it makes an extended cut.

Whenever such remote controlled equipment is used, the employer must ensure it is used in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications. These may include the following operational safeguards:

(a) provision of a written procedure;

(b) ensure that radio frequencies used underground are independent of one another so that a signal given to one machine will not somehow initiate an action on another separate machine;

(c) allow selection of either manual or remote operation mode;

(d) the operator must have sight of the equipment, either directly or via a camera and screen display;

(e) clear signage of the area where remote controlled equipment is in use or may be in use;

(f) only one authorized operator can operate remote controlled equipment at a given time;

(g) a detailed log must be kept of remote controlled equipment use to provide a record of specific operational circumstances. This information may be useful in an incident investigation or for maintenance/operational trend analysis, etc.

(h) ensure that remote controlled equipment is properly equipped and maintained to prevent unexpected/unauthorized use or interference with other operations that use radio frequencies, such as blasting; and

(i) the radio frequency selection unit is sealed to prevent the operating frequency from being altered.