Spate of mining accidents sees safety warning issued

QUEENSLAND miners are being told to be careful after a spate of incidents risking "high-pressure injections" - when skin is pierced by a laser fine stream of liquid, which can then enter the bloodstream.

The state mines department has dispatched a bulletin in the past week following at least two incidents during the Christmas period, although neither caused serious injuries.

Since 2007, the department has sent three industry-wide warnings about the potentially fatal dangers posed by breaches in high-pressure hoses, including one which occurred at the North Goonyella mine in 2011.

When these high-pressure hoses are punctured, the jet of liquid can be so powerful that it will cut through skin.

In the worst cases, it can slice open the flesh on limbs while at the same time injecting oil, grease or "emulsion", which is a combination of oil and water.

Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union health and safety representative Stephen Woods said for some workers, it could feel as innocuous as a pin prick.

"It might be a pressure injection - a thin stream of fluid is enough to break the skin," he said.

The consequence of a high-pressure fluid injection can lead to the amputation of limbs or even death if not properly diagnosed and treated, as the toxic chemicals begin to travel around the body.

Topics:  incidents mining occupational health and safety safety warning

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