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Enforceable undertaking accepted following Springvale Colliery incident

The operator of Springvale Colliery near Lithgow has committed to spending approximately $540,000 as part of an enforceable undertaking after a worker was injured during a workplace incident in early 2019.

The worker suffered a fractured leg after being struck by a bow shackle after a RUD link failed during a towing operation on 5 February 2019.

Following an investigation by the Resources Regulator, Springvale Coal (the operator of Springvale Colliery) submitted a proposal for an enforceable undertaking that included the funding and delivery of safety and community projects at a minimum cost of $480,000.

On 7 December 2020 the Regulator accepted the WHS enforceable undertaking as it determined that this action would provide greater benefits to the workforce, industry and community than any other enforcement response.

As part of the undertaking Springvale Coal will provide underground workers with an Underground Safety Communication System (USCS), at a minimum cost of $150,000.

Other key elements of the undertaking include engaging a registered training organisation to develop and deliver a bespoke resource and infrastructure training program for underground coal mine slinging, lifting and towing (SLT) tasks, at a minimum cost $100,000.

Springvale Coal must also provide a donation to NSW Ambulance (Lithgow Station) to purchase a second first response recovery 4WD vehicle, at a total cost of $150,000.

Importantly, Springvale Coal is also required to share its experiences and learnings associated with the projects to at least three mining industry conferences or seminars, ensuring that the broader industry benefits from these projects as well.

An enforceable undertaking was a legally binding agreement proposed by a company following an alleged breach, which may be considered as an alternative to prosecution.

Information about the incident is available on the Regulator’s website, including the investigation information release (PDF, 582.53 KB), which was issued in May 2019, the final investigation report (PDF, 1.22 MB), published in July 2020. A lateral load shifting video was released on the Regulator’s YouTube channel in March 2020.

In accordance with the Regulator’s Enforceable Undertaking Guidelines, the decision to accept the undertaking has been published on the Regulator’s website.

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