In the fallout from the Middlemount tragedy, there are people across the wider mining industry hurting pretty badly. They’re also asking…why?
Why did a husband, father, son, uncle die in such tragic circumstances? Why did the incident happen in the first place? Why has the run of fatal incidents continued to occur in an industry that espouses Zero harm? Why did we have to lose a colleague, a friend and a brother in circumstances such as these?
Even as removed from the incident as we are, our small team here at AMSJ is also feeling the pain and heartache of what is now, another tragic loss of an irreplaceable life.
Some, like the corporate spin doctors, the politicians and those covering their arses won’t understand the pain…they’ll demand restraint, logic, prudence and reason. They’ll defend their positions against the current wave of emotional responses with words and phrases such as speculative, fully co-operating with the investigation, diligence, prudence and even ‘supporting the family through the crisis’ when in fact…they are likely to have been a contributor to the crisis and are seeking to ‘transactionalise’ a highly emotional issue.
A lot could be said…but there will be a time
There’s so much the wider mining community want to say, there’s a lot of tears we need to shed and there’s a lot of anger many need to vent…but now isn’t that time…it’s a time to support those who are hurting more than us. The family, the friends, the co-workers and the ERT members who witnessed the event first hand.
In understanding this, it’s a time to show some respect and restraint in the name of human decency, it’s a time for patience and contemplating…but rest assured though, that time will come.
Tonight AMSJ has been forwarded this open very emotional letter from miners wife. A heartfelt plea was written by the wife of a Middlemount ERT member to the mine’s management and owners. In some small way, it expresses what many are feeling so eloquently.
A letter to Middlemount Coal from an angry wife
I am shocked and appalled as I put my thoughts on paper as I don’t know how else to express and voice a very valid and emotionally present issue.
First and foremost, my heart goes out to the family who lost their husband, father, grandfather on Wednesday.
Secondly, my thoughts and the very reason for this public cry out to Middlemount Coal is the poor nature in how this tragic incident has been handled within the community of their production workers.
My husband who worked through the night in the ERT group to assist with recovery has yet not been to a single meeting/debrief (a meeting was had at the town hall but excluded the ERT members that worked through the recovery night ) to have the opportunity to emotionally process and understand the events that occurred, yet still on both consecutive afternoons have been approached to go into work within hours of having to commence night shift (no time to ensure adequate sleep was had to prevent fatigue).
Thankfully he is a clever man and said no on both occasions due to lack of notice and out of principal and respect for his family and the basic fundamentals of what you would expect out of humanity and from a company that he has been loyal to for the last 7 years.
Middlemount coal you have failed not just your employees but their partners and families.
Not because you expect your mine and our miners to return to work, I understand that you’re a company and in all of our best interest the mine gets back and operating but because you have failed to communicate and ensure the mental health of your workers comes first.
They need to be addressed from the top and to have the opportunity to have questions answered and be explained how this incident occurred and what you have done to ensure this won’t happen again.
My loved one who is one of your dedicated employees is not one of your machines, he is not replaceable like Dave was not replaceable to his family.
We as a family need to feel confident in sending our loved ones back to work. This incident goes beyond your workers and into their families. I as a wife have been emotionally broken because this incident is way closer to home then I would like and for me to continue to sacrifice my family to your company I need more than the 0% support you have shown my husband.
How dare you even ask him to come back into work without someone addressing and reassuring him and giving him the best chance at feeling emotionally okay to return to work.
I am challenging you to re-evaluate how you have handled your employees and their families during this tragic time and ask that you apply some basic fundamental processes to ensure we as a family not just them as employees feel secure in letting our loved ones come back and serve your company. In a time where emotional health is at the forefront of overall wellbeing.
I would expect a company of your standards to at least meet the basic requirements to ensure this is achieved and ensure you are not contributing to the statistics of mental health victims within the mining industry by expecting your workers to return to work without adequate answers, reassurance and at the very least communication surrounding this very tragic outcome.
Please take this opportunity to be a leading example within the mining industry as how to handle workplace tragedies instead of failing miserly and seeing the public backlash that will come your way if you don’t. I trust that a multi-million-dollar company such as yourselves have leaders that can see that a contented, emotionally stable crew (and their families) will result in better production anyway…. It really does not take a genius to see that….
Please know this is not a spiteful attack on your company but a cry out from one of your miners’ wives begging you to reverse the damage you have done and re-evaluate your procedures to adequately emotionally managing your employees and their families after such a tragedy.
Again, I understand we the families are just one very small part of this fatality management process but I believe a very valid and important part that deserves more then what is currently being given. I hope this is received in the manner it is intended.
A miner’s wife.
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