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Teamwork scrutinised after Central Qld coal mine fatality

Curragh Coal Mine
Curragh Coal Mine

Work practices will be examined after a second coal operation employee died in less than two years.

Investigators will probe how effectively the Curragh Mine team worked together before a night-shift employee became fatally injured in Blackwater, 209km west of Rockhampton.

“The investigation will consider issues such as communication between machine operators and persons on the ground, and verification of work practices,” Resources Safety and Health Queensland coal chief inspector Peter Newman said in a public statement.

Preliminary investigations found Clark Peadon died on November 21 while using a cable tractor to perform cable relocation work on a stationary dragline.

“The worker either re-entered or remained in the operational swing boundary when the dragline became operational,” Newman said. “The worker was struck by the dragline propel shoe, resulting in him sustaining fatal injuries.”

Proponent Coronado Global Resources confirmed the Queensland Police Service has already left the mine site, operations are still suspended, and work will resume shortly.

“The RSHQ Inspectorate has issued directives to isolate the accident site, and to suspend all operations of draglines at Curragh, until it is satisfied that these activities can recommence safely,” the company said in a public statement.

“Coronado has [since] commenced planning for a gradual and phased recommencement of operational activities that will progressively restart over the coming days.”

RHSQ urged every employer to make sure “effective controls” exist to manage risks from draglines and other moving equipment.

“This may include ensuring persons undertaking activities are adequately trained in all relevant aspects of the mine’s safety and health management system, [and] auditing and validating operating procedures on a regular basis,” Newman said.

“[Workers should also be] made aware of the ongoing risks when working in the vicinity of mining equipment when an operator is at the controls and … [be] trained in the content and application of positive communication procedures,” he added. “Supervisors [should] monitor compliance with site positive communication procedures.”

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AMSJ April 2022