15th August 2013…The Department of Mines is investigating the first death in Western Australia’s mining industry in almost two years.
The body of a 26-year-old man from New Zealand was found at Fortescue Metals Group’s Christmas Creek mine at 8:00pm yesterday.
The iron ore mine is located in the Pilbara region of WA, about 100 km north of Newman.
It was reported that the contractor sustained fatal crush injuries while carrying out maintenance work on a large motor in FMG’s ore processing plant.
Mine safety inspectors from Perth are travelling to the site today to investigate the death.
A spokesperson reported “It is early days and it would be inappropriate for me to give the details of that, but do be assured that we will do a very thorough investigation and establish what happened and put in place measures to make sure that these things don’t happen again,” he said.
FMG released a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange this morning, confirming the death at its site.
Mining and processing operations at the mine were suspended overnight.
Electrical Trades Union Secretary, Les McLaughlin, says the area where the man was working had previously been identified as a safety risk.
“People have said to us, there’s a fatality waiting to happen here,” he said.
“The information we have is that it has been identified. It’s compounded by the fact that when someone is working alone, there is no one else to see if they get caught in an awkward position or get trapped.”
The Construction Mining and Energy Union has described the incident as a tragic waste of life and says the CFMEU will be fully involved in the investigation into his death.
It is the first death in the industry since 16 August, 2011, with 2012 being the first fatality-free year in more than a century