Bulga Underground Operations has been found responsible for an incident at the Beltana coal mine in 2010 that saw a worker sustain severe crush injuries.
According to the Newcastle Herald the worker was, “…crushed between the toe of an automatically advancing roof support and the side of a continuous armoured face conveyor” after being knocked unconscious at the Hunter Valley mine on 23 April 2010.
Bulga Underground Operations pleaded not guilty to the offence under the Occupational Health and Safety Act after the incident.
On Wednesday the NSW District Court heard that the worker was found semi-conscious on the ground with ‘‘severe’’ crush injuries and a large piece of roof stone lying across his thigh.
His helmet had been knocked off and he had no recollection of what had happened, Judge James Curtis said.
“Just five weeks earlier another worker had been struck on the head and shoulder by a large piece of coal that was thrown towards him after it fell from the coal face while he operated a shearer,” the Newcastle Herald reports.
Judge Curtis ruled against Bulga Underground Operations saying, ‘‘ … I have concluded that the circumstances in which [the miner] came to be injured were foreseeable to a reasonable person standing in the place of the defendant,’’ he ruled.
‘‘The defendant failed to mitigate the foreseeable risk by taking the reasonably practicable measure of employing the services of an additional miner in the crew, whose sole task was to observe the drum operators and stop the advancement of roof supports if the drum operator became disabled.’’
Sentencing of Bulga Underground Operations will take place on a date yet to be determined.