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Coal mining company fined $210K over worker death

hydraulic ladder fatality

A Western Australian coal mining company operating was today fined $210,000 and ordered to pay $23,000 in costs after a worker suffered a fatal injury after being crushed with a hydraulic ladder when accessing a stop switch.

The April 2018 incident happened at the Ewington mine site operated by Griffin Coal near Collie.

Griffin Coal pleaded guilty in the Magistrates Court of Western Australia for failing to provide and maintain a safe working environment for its employees, causing the death of a worker.

The worker was fatally injured while attempting to access the shovel’s electrical stop switch. During this action a hydraulic ladder was activated, causing it to rotate downwards and pin the worker against a fixed handrail.

Hazards of hydraulic access ladders

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Co-workers and paramedics were unable to resuscitate the injured employee.

Andrew Chaplyn, Director Mines Safety at the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety said the incident was an important reminder that mining companies need to make safety an absolute priority.

“Western Australia has a comprehensive code of practice in relation to safeguarding machinery and plant,” Mr 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.

“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’.

“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.”

Mineworker crushed by hydraulic stairs – again!

On 7 May 2018, the department issued a Significant Incident Report that summarises the hydraulic ladder incident, outlines the contributing causes and explains the required actions.

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