Safety systems improved after fatal mining accident

A CORONER found lessons had been learnt from the death of Michael Earle Auld, from Tin Can Bay, who was killed in a mining accident in North Queensland.

Mr Auld was working 375 metres underground at the BHP Billiton Cannington Mine when he was crushed between a LandCruiser and a working platform attached to a loader on January 17, 2008.

He died from multiple crush injuries to his chest and abdomen.

Mr Auld, who was working as part of a three-man crew, was standing at the rear of a Toyota utility with his back to an approaching loader operated by another crew member.

The plan was to transfer tools and other equipment into the basket on the loader.

A third crew member was directing the loader operator forward.

However, on signalling to stop, the loader continued and crushed Mr Auld between the loader basket and the tray of the utility.

Coroner Kevin Priestly found that while the mine operator had in place safe working procedures that addressed the potential for injury to pedestrians, those procedures did not descend to the level of detail to address persons working with, and in close proximity to, mobile equipment.

"While both organisations had reasonably effective safety management systems, they identified opportunities for improvement at a procedural and organisational level," Mr Priestly said.

"More detailed safe working procedures were developed and implemented imposing a 10 metre exclusion zone with specific safety precautions for those working within that zone.

"Furthermore, both organisations have implemented programs aimed at improving and maintaining safety awareness.

"I am satisfied that all lessons to be learnt were fully explored and all opportunities for improvement were fully identified and implemented."

Topics:  fatal accident workplace accident

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