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Conference Paper

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This conference paper was originally published as Kahler, R & Slater, M, High Risk Management in Two Long Wall Operations, in Aziz, N (ed), Coal 2003: Coal Operators' Conference, University of Wollongong & the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 2003, 185-202.


Within the mining industry, there is recorded data which describes damage to people. The damage can be classified in a hierarchy ranging from incidents which produce multiple fatalities, single fatalities, nonfatal permanent disabilities, temporary damage and inconvenience. There is also a body of unreported collective knowledge in the workforce associated with the tasks which do not produce damage, which are not perceived as high risk; are seldom, if ever, reported and are consistent with that which produce non-fatal permanent damage. The key to successful high risk management is the collection of this unreported knowledge. The vast majority of personal damage (measured in dollars, suffering, and impairment) is associated with nonfatal permanent disability. It is multiple fatalities and single fatalities which bring about the greatest level of change through the attention which is drawn to such events but these are not the categories which produce the majority of damage. Organisations must predict the potential for permanent non-fatal damage within their operation. The mining industry’s pattern of non-fatal permanent disability has been accurately described. This generalised pattern provides the basis of implementing systematic high risk identification using appropriate focusing questions and focused groups comprised of underground miners. The process is known as Focused Recall. It is a systematic collection of the experience and knowledge of the workforce against the pattern of non-fatal permanent disability. It couples appropriate experience with external expertise. The process has been applied to Oaky Creek Coal and Oaky Creek North and, in particular, their longwall operations, the development crews and support groups. The pattern of collected data parallels the known industry pattern of non-fatal permanent disabilities. The process harvests the collective experience and knowledge which has seldom, if ever, been reported into the organisation’s data base. The information correlates strongly with the phenomena of non-fatal permanent disability. The results of the use of this powerful productive process at Oaky Creek Coal and Oaky Creek North are presented

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