Union presses for prosecution after miner fatality

16th September 2022

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia


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PERTH ( – The Mining and Energy Union this week formally requested the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor pursue a prosecution against labour hire company Mastermyne over the death of a coal miner at the Crinum mine, in Queensland, in September last year. 

Graham Dawson was killed after the roof of the Crinum mine collapsed. It took four days to recover the body.

The Mining and Energy Union said on Friday that inquiries by the union’s Industry Safety and Health Representative indicate that Mastermyne’s strata control systems were not adequate in preventing the strata failure that killed Dawson.

Mastermyne manages the whole production workforce at Crinum underground mine, having been awarded the contract in June of last year, for a period of seven years.

The Office of the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor has not yet announced any charges over Dawson’s death. 

Mining and Energy Union Queensland president Stephen Smyth said Dawson’s family deserved justice and all coal miners deserved to know that people in charge would be held accountable for their safety at work. 

“On too many occasions of fatalities and serious injuries, no charges have been laid or charges have been laid and then withdrawn, with no explanation to mining communities about why this has happened,” said Smyth. 

Mastermyne suffered a second workplace fatality less than seven months later when Gavin Feltwell was killed at Anglo American’s Moranbah North coal mine.

Smyth noted that Mastermyne had conducted a safety review which found that there were no major flaws in its operations, however, Smyth said despite these findings it had been revealed that the mine’s principal hazard management plan failed to identify preventative controls for hazards and the scope of their hazard management plan was inadequate.

“The company was grossly neglectful. Not only by not having an adequate plan to keep workers safe, but also by not acting on recommendations to improve safety for workers, until it was too late. 

“We are pursuing a prosecution because Queensland coal communities deserve explanations as to why these agencies decide against seeking justice for the families and workmates who are left to pick up the pieces after these devastating incidents.”

Queensland in 2020 passed mine safety legislation that would see mining executives facing up to 20 years’ jail if fatalities occurred because of criminal negligence.

Mastermyne was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter




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