Changes for any explosion protected plant covered by an MDA

The introduction of the Work Health and Safety (Mines) Regulation 2014 included changes for explosion-protected electrical equipment.

Under clause 78, the operator of an underground coal mine must ensure that any plant used in a hazardous zone is explosion-protected and, if the plant is electrical plant, has an explosion-protection level suitable for that use.

In addition to identification of the explosion protection levels, clause 78 also requires that the equipment have a valid certificate of conformity or is specified in the Explosion Protected Electrical Apparatus Approvals List (see below). This list details equipment covered by the previous Mines Department Approvals (MDAs).

Mine operators, and owners/operators of hire equipment, should be aware that explosion protected electrical equipment covered only by a MDA will not be permitted to be used in a hazardous zone in an underground coal mine if the equipment is manufactured after 1 October 2015.

There are also other provisions in clause 78 that equipment covered by an MDA will need to meet to be permitted to be used in a hazardous zone. Mine operators must ensure that all electrical plant used in a hazardous zone meets all relevant requirements of this clause.

Explosion protected electrical apparatus approvals list

The list of approved explosion-protected (Ex) electrical plant was last reviewed and updated on 15 December 2015.

The list of approved explosion-protected electrical plant above is to be used as the list nominated in the gazette notice "Types of electrical plant used in hazard zones". It would be appropriate to review the approvals list against current plant assets at your mine and notify Garvin Burns (garvin.burns@industry.nsw.gov.au) of concerns and/or deficiencies in the list.

Survey of approved explosion-protected electrical apparatus

A survey of approved explosion-protected electrical plant in-use in hazardous zones of NSW mines was completed in late 2007. The survey was sent to end-users, plant hire companies and other interested companies.

The results of the survey revealed that over 60% of existing approvals were no longer used in NSW coal mine hazardous zones. These approvals were subsequently removed from the list.