The death of a worker at Fortescue Metal’s Christmas Creek operation in Western Australia has hit the industry hard, with the deceased employee being described as very ‘safety conscious’.
Kurt Williams, a 24 year old electrician from New Zealand, suffered fatal crush injuries at around 8pm last Wednesday while carrying out maintenance work on a large motor in the mine’s crushing plant.
Speaking to Fairfax Media, Williams’ former employer, Barry Martin, said Williams was very conscious of safety issues.
“He was very aware, not a dummy. He was quite a switched-on guy, I struggle to see how this has happened,” he said.
“He’d be one of the last people you’d think this would happen to…It’s a tragedy … just a good person, that’s all. A good bloke.”
Stuff.co.nz is reporting that the Electrical Trades Union WA had previously raised concerns about the kind of work Williams was undertaking, and about some safety practices at the mine.
Electrical Trades Union WA secretary Les McLaughlan said, “This man’s death is a tragedy and we believe it may have been prevented if CSI had listened to our concerns about its safety practices,” he said, “Working on live equipment is inherently dangerous. What we need to know is whether the company took any extra safety precautions after we raised these concerns.”
McLaughlan said Williams’ death also highlights the danger of working alone at night.
In an ASX statement, Fortescue operations director David Woodall said the company is “deeply saddened”. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the worker’s loved ones at this time,” Woodall said.