Mine regulator enforces fire safety at Loy Yang

Earth Resources Regulation continues to ensure Latrobe Valley’s coal mine operators comply with their fire safety obligations ahead of the summer high fire danger season.

AGL has been issued with two Notices for alleged breaches of fire safety procedures at its Loy Yang coal mine after multiple spot fires at the mine on 31 October 2019.

While the incidents were dealt with by the mine operator, the causes and response have been investigated by Earth Resources Regulation.

The first Notice relates to the procedures for equipping, inspecting and washing down mine vehicles to prevent coal dust accumulating, igniting and falling on exposed coal or vegetation, allegedly resulting in the fires.

The second Notice alleges that after the fires started the company failed to follow its emergency management plan and immediately notify authorities, including the CFA and Earth Resources Regulation.

In Victoria, coal mine operators are expected to vigilantly maintain and adhere to set procedures in relation to fire safety and implement actions in the event of an incident.

Earth Resources Regulation inspectors attended Loy Yang coal mine and worked closely with WorkSafe as the incidents unfolded on the day.

The Notices require the mine operator to engage an independent specialist to review the incidents and procedures, and undertake staff training to ensure maintenance and fire reporting is carried out in accordance with its Work Plan in the future.

As stated by Earth Resources Regulation’s Executive Director Anthony Hurst:

“Communities across the Latrobe Valley should be reassured that the necessary safeguards are in place and are being enforced ahead of what could be hot and dry summer.”

“We’ll continue to step-in if safeguards are breached to prevent and control coal mine fires.”

“Over the coming months we’ll continue working closely with WorkSafe, the CFA and the mine operators to ensure that fire risks are minimised.”

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