Alcoa of Australia Ltd has been fined more than $200,000 plus costs in the Perth Magistrates Court over the death of a worker at its Kwinana Alumina Refinery in 2015.
The worker was contracted as part of a larger work crew who were tasked with removing scaffolding inside processing vessels, which were offline for the maintenance.
The worker entered the vessel, unaware that the scaffolding had already been removed. When he stepped into the manhole, expecting to step onto the scaffolding, he instead fell 12 metres.
The entry point had no barriers or guards and the vessels had not been marked according to the scaffolding removal status of each.
Mines Safety Director at the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety Andrew Chaplyn explained that the risk of falls from heights was one of the main hazards in the industry.
“Mine operators must conduct detailed risk assessments of areas where workers could be exposed to fall hazards and they must take preventative measures,” he said.
Mr Chaplyn said the Alcoa incident highlights the need for mining operators to conduct thorough and ongoing risk assessments and to implement appropriate control measures from the hierarchy of control.
“Control measures remove or reduce the risk of injury or harm and include a series of steps ranging from the elimination, substitution and/or isolation of risks through to engineering and administrative controls.”
“Employers and workers should always ensure safe work procedures are available, followed and enforced.”
Alcoa of Australia was fined $210,000 plus $75,000 in costs.