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Mine supervising officer asked the hard questions at inquest

Paul Maguire inquest

A former Anglo Coal, Mine Supervising Officer has been asked a range of probing questions in the inquest into the death of Paul McGuire in Mackay today.

The coroner heard CFMEU Counsel Gavin Rebetzke and Counsel for Paul McGuire’s wife Michael De Waard, ask former Anglo American Mine Supervising Officer, Jason Fairweather about actions associated with the lead up to the death of Paul McGuire and the subsequent assumptions made in respect of decisions on the day of Paul McGuire’s death. A preliminary transcript is provided below:

Rebetzke for CFMEU – Do you accept that the series of assumptions that you have made during the course of that shift as the person in charge of the shift shows a less than rigorous attention to safety? 

Mine Supervising Officer – No

Rebetzke – You don’t accept that 

Mine Supervising Officer – No

Rebetzke– Were you the subject of disciplinary action?

Mine Supervising Officer – Yes I was 

Rebetzke – What did they discipline you for? 

Mine Supervising Officer – That very incident were talking about now 

Rebetzke – Do you accept that the discipline was fair?

Mine Supervising Officer – I accepted the decision

Rebetzke – It would be desirable, would it not for the person in charge of the shift, such as you were, not to make assumptions that had the potential to affect the safety of workers, you’d have to agree with that?

Mine Supervising Officer – I agree with that

Rebetzke– You agree that you made a series of assumptions? 

Mine Supervising Officer – I made an assumption that an area was inspected, that it wasn’t 

Rebetzke – You made an assumptions that the area you sent Mr Adams to was inspected, which it wasn’t, you made the assumption that Mr Macguire was only going to the sensors in the roadway and you made the assumption that when there was a spike in the reading that it may have been due to a sensor falling over? 

Mine Supervising Officer – Yes, that was the one event with Adams 

Rebetzke – Did you know how long the 901 tailgate inspections were valid?

Mine Supervising Officer – At that stage no 

Rebetzke – You knew that Mckeiver had inspected the 901 tailgate sometime in the morning? 

Mine Supervising Officer – I knew it was inspected but I wasn’t sure what the time was 

Rebetzke – What was the mechanism that made you sure of that. Is that responsibility delegated to the ERZ controllers, through the whiteboards?

Mine Supervising Officer – Yes, at the meeting in the morning 

Counsel Michael De Waard for Melissa McGuire asked the Mine Supervising Officer

De Waard Is the case that you weren’t present at any morning meetings where it was discussed that a deputy had inspected 901.

Mine Supervising Officer – No I started after the meeting 

De Waard It has been stated that you had an assumption that 901 was under a current inspection. 

Mine Supervising Officer – I know it was allocated to be inspected 

De Waard But you didn’t know any electricians going to conduct gas calibration?

In the statements you gave to the department, in those two statements you seemed to say that Paul didn’t mention going into 901. You then seem to say somewhat critically that “normally electricians will confirm that areas will be inspected going into returns”. Are you suggesting that Paul ought to have confirmed the areas that he was going into?

Mine Supervising Officer – Not with me, but he would confirm either with the shift engineer or if he was going into an area that required inspection, he would refer with a deputy, or if he couldn’t find one he might refer to me.

De Waard To be clear if he had spoken to you about 901, your assumption was that it had an inspection.

Mine Supervising Officer – I would have to have a look at when the inspection was valid.

De Waard You said earlier it’s your job to make sure the people have the info they need to perform their tasks. Whose responsibility was it for checking the job. 

Mine Supervising Officer – I saw statutory job cards, it would have been coordinators for departments for the day shift.

De Waard You said you were aware of the tasks Paul was to do. So you weren’t aware of all of the tasks?

Mine Supervising Officer – The tasks he was doing for the day would have been allocated by his coordinator. So I would not understand the specific tasks. The outbye electrical coordinator would have understood what he was to do for the day. 

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