Gold miner fined $150,000 over death of worker, third in string of fatalities

Gold miner fined $150,000 over death of worker, third in string of fatalities

The owners of a Western Australian gold mining operation have been fined $150,000 over the death of a worker, the third recorded over a six-year period.

Kevin Maloney’s Tulla Resources Group which controls the Central Norsemen Gold Corporation was sentenced in Kalgoorlie Magistrate’s Court Friday last week over the death of boilermaker Lindsay Bridges.

Mr Bridges was crushed under a gantry bridge when it fell on him when he was conducting work underneath it at the Norsemen gold site. He died en route to the hospital.

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety director Andrew Chaplyn said the incident could have been prevented.

“Central Norseman Gold Corporation was aware that its processing plant was old and was in generally poor condition,” Mr Chaplyn said.

“The condition assessment would have determined that the bridge’s bottom truss chords had corroded and fractured, and there was a risk the bridge was in danger of sudden collapse if the rake shaft was removed.

“This tragic consequence of the company’s lack of attention to an issue, which should have been identified, highlights the need for vigilance by management in ensuring that safety protocols are strictly observed.”

Before it closed in 2014, The Central Norseman gold mine in the WA Goldfields region was Australia’s longest continuously running gold operation. Between 2010 and 2014, two other fatalities were recorded, including the death of Rene Ponce who fell 10 metres at a site, and machine operator Wayne Fowlie, who died in in 2014 after he was caught underneath an 18-tonne rockfall.

Central Norseman was fined $15,000 in 2013 for failing to provide a safe working environment after it was revealed Mr Ponce failed to wear fall-arrest equipment while working, and subsequently fined $140,000 last year over Mr Fowlie’s death, where Central Norseman admitted it failed to install adequate ground control in the tunnel where Mr Fowlie was working.

 

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