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Coal mining company fined $210,000 following worker death

Wednesday 24, Jun 2020

NSCA Foundation, Safe-T-Bulletin



Coal mining company fined $210,000 following worker death

On 18 June, Griffin Coal, a coalmining company operating in Western Australia’s south-west, was fined $210,000 and ordered to pay $23,000 in costs after a worker suffered a fatal injury while operating a tracked mobile shovel. The April 2018 incident occurred at the Ewington mine site operated by Griffin Coal near Collie. The worker was fatally injured while attempting to access the shovel’s electric stop switch. In doing so, a hydraulic ladder was activated, causing it to rotate downwards and pin the worker against a fixed handrail. Co-workers and paramedics were unable to resuscitate the injured worker.

Griffin Coal pleaded guilty for failing to provide and maintain a safe working environment for its employees, causing the death of a worker. Andrew Chaplyn, Director Mines Safety at the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS), said the incident was a reminder for mining companies to make safety an absolute priority. “Western Australia has a comprehensive code of practice in relation to safeguarding machinery and plant,” Chaplyn said. “The code specifically warns about crushing hazards, including the risk of a worker being caught between a machine part and a fixed structure.”

In May 2018, the department issued a Significant Incident Report that summarised the incident, outlining the contributing causes and explaining the required actions. “This incident highlights the need for mining companies to conduct ongoing risk assessments and to implement the recommended order of control measures, known as the ‘hierarchy of control’,” Chaplyn said. “These measures remove or reduce the risk of injury or harm and include a series of steps ranging from the elimination, substitution and/or isolation of risks through to engineering and administrative controls.”

A copy of DMIRS’s 7 May 2018 Significant Incident Report can be found here.

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