Ms Nikky La Branche

Research Fellow - OHS in Mining

Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre
Sustainable Minerals Institute


Nikky specialises in occupational health and safety research for the mining industry. She is currently working on characterisation of dust exposures in the mining and engineered stone work industries and its relation to occupational lung dieseases.

Nikky is a driven researcher with 18 years of experience in mining engineering with a focus on occupational health and safety research. Her research interests include respirable dust, real-time monitoring, accident and injury data analysis, emergency management and self-escape. She has underground and surface coal experience having worked in Australia, North & South America with a focus on strategic planning, project management and mine planning.

Research Interests

>Management of Particulates in the Resources Sector

Strategically assessing knowledge gaps in the understanding of particulates including inspirable dusts, respirable dusts, fine particles (including diesel emissions) and ultrafine particles and the growing awareness of the contribution of silica to respiratory disease. Establishing the current state of knowledge, gaps, and future opportunities for human exposure and health, monitoring, control effectiveness, non-coal mining, diesel particulate matter, and cumulative impacts. Trialling and comparative testing of gravimetric and real-time respirable dust monitoring technologies.

>Incident Management

Improving incident management practices by conducting Queensland Level 1 Emergency exercises and assessing the actions of the mines incident management team. Reviewing previous Level 1 exercise report recommendations and collating key themes to produce a best practices guide for industry. Aligning emergency management systems across all Queensland underground coal mines including escapeway markings, non-verbal communications, lifeline and hard hat colours. Establishing design criteria for built-in-place emergency shelters in underground mines.

>Injury Analysis and Accident Investigation

Reviewing and analysing fatality, high potential incident, serious accident and lost time injury data. Recoding data and creating a new injury classification taxonomy better suited to mining industry conditions to convey the trends in the data. Identifying organisational factors contributing to fatalities and high potential incidents. Reviewing occupational health statistics and disease surveillance systems with particular interest in relation to geographical distribution of disease prevalence.


>Bachelor of Science, Mining & Minerals Engineering, Virginia Tech

>Masters of Business Administration, Finance, University of Alabama Birmingham

>Registered Professional Engineer Queensland

>Chartered Professional AusIMM


  • Board Member, Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy


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