AMSJ » Report into the death of miner finally to be released

Report into the death of miner finally to be released

retractable access ladder - death of Jack gerdes
The location of a release valve and a non functioning pull-wire appears to have contributed to the death of mine worker Jack Gerdes.

A report into the death of Queensland miner Jack Gerdes at the Baralaba mine will be released in three weeks according to Queensland Government feedback supplied to the father of the fallen miner.

 Jack Gerdes, died from injuries sustained when he was caught in the stairs of an excavator Baralaba Coal Mine on 7th July, 2019.

His father, Brian Gerdes has pleaded with the Queensland State Government mine safety inspectorate for months to release information and reports that specify the cause of death of his son Jack. It’s been a harrowing time for the Gerdes family, often relying on hearsay information provided by friends and colleagues of Jack who worked at the Baralaba mine.

But Brian is also concerned that the report will fail to bring about change that the industry needs. He has previously labelled Queensland’s mine safety issues a “virus” that the Queensland State Government has failed to adequately address.

Brian told AMSJ that the apparent lack of action from the Queensland Mines Inspectorate on issues associated with retractable stairs was deeply concerning.

“There is a demonstrated history of serious accidents associated with retractable stairs” he said.

Brian asked “Why don’t they investigate this as an industry wide issue before other miners die?”

The release of the report will be unlikely to provide comfort and closure to the family of Jack Gerdes. Brian believes that the regulator must now forward the report to the coroner for consideration of a full inquiry into Jack’s death.


AMSJ has previously highlighted that there has been a long history of incidents involving retractable stairs. As recent as one month ago, another mineworker in Western Australia was crushed between a hydraulic access staircase and handrail 

Other incidents include a fatal incident at Griffin Coal where an investigator found a range of contributory causes including the isolation of ladders, position of the emergency stop switch, inadequate lighting, labelling of switches and procedures associated with shut down.

The Queensland Safety Regulator reportedly failed to inform the Queensland industry of the inherent risks of retractable stairs following the Western Australian fatal incident. (We note that the incident types differ but inherent risks are common across a range of retractable stairs.

Brian believes that the response by the Queensland Government has not been adequate to eliminate risks to mineworkers.

He told AMSJ “They fundamentally don’t see it as their responsibility to regulate the industry…they believe it’s the mining companies problem.”

A Queensland Mines Inspectorate spokesman told the Mackay Daily Mercury that it had not launched any legal proceedings into the death.


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AMSJ April 2022