Underground » Communications

Published: September 17Project Number: C20003

Get ReportAuthor: Jim Joy, Philipp Kirsch | The University of Queensland


Australian coal mines will be better able to manage high-consequence risks across their operations following the launch of RISKGATE ®, ACARP's largest single investment in health and safety.

RISKGATE is an online body of knowledge built by the Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre (MISHC) using coal industry expertise - thousands of hours of mining professionals' input collected during a series of guided workshops.

It is designed to help coal industry personnel understand and control selected major incidents and connects them to information about event-specific controls. It will help them find gaps in their own controls based on systematic consideration of incidents, including their causes and consequences. Practical bow-tie-based information can be printed out as checklists that can be used within current mine activities and systems. Bow-tie analysis (BTA) identifies event-specific controls and considers the range of causes and consequences for selected priority events.

RISKGATE currently provides information about 11 high-consequence risk areas across coal mining operations: tyres; isolation; collisions; strata control; ground control; fires; explosives (underground); explosives (open cut); explosions; manual tasks; and trips, slips and falls. An additional six topics - hazardous chemicals, outburst, coal burst and bumps, interface (controls and displays), tailings dams and inrush - will be completed in 2013, with occupational health to be completed by 2014. MISHC is seeking nominations from industry experts to assist with the new topics.

The tool can be used to conduct or develop risk assessments, audits, incident investigations and management systems. It is designed for coal industry personnel who are responsible for these tasks and helps challenge their thinking about priority incidents and to drive a careful review process to identify potential controls.

Project Manager Philipp Kirsch said RISKGATE was a comprehensive expert knowledge database with an unequalled breadth of information, including input from the six largest coal companies in Australia.

"It is simple and intuitive to use, and has a coal mining focus - built by coal miners for coal miners," he said.

"RISKGATE helps coal industry personnel address two important needs - to more carefully consider the existence and effectiveness of controls for major incidents, and to recognise that every site is different. Controls for each high-consequence risk at each site must be assessed on an individual basis - one size does not fit all."

Operational risk management has been part of the Australian coal mining industry for more than a decade. Over this period the industry has made major progress on the management of risks, including the prevention of catastrophic incidents and this work is recognised around the world. The industry is now making a step change in risk management by focusing on control effectiveness using BTA. This step change will take several years to be fully implemented across the industry and RISKGATE is an integral part of this process.


e-newsletters ACARP Matters 25 and ACARP Matters 28 have also been published for this project, highlighting its significance for the industry.


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