Contractor fined for 2008 explosion at coal mine

Contractor Carpenter Mine Management has been fined $100 000 over an explosion that left a contractor with severe burns.

The incident occurred at what is now Lanco Resources Collie mine and severely injured one worker and damaged the plant's infrastructure and equipment.

The incident saw electrical contract Tony Eames left in a critical condition with burns to nearly half his body after an explosion at the carbonising plant.

Ralph Beacham, Eames' brother-in-law, told the Bunbury Mail Eames required a full skin graft to his back due to the explosion.

"His back, arms and fingers were badly burnt," he said.

"We just have to wait and see how he recovers."

At the time of the explosion, the mine was still owned by Griffin Coal, and charges have been laid against the company and Carpenter Mine Management.

One charge states the miner "as an employer at a mine failed, so far as is practicable, to promote and maintain a mine working environment in which that employer’s employees were not exposed to hazards and by that contravention caused serious harm to Anthony Eames".

The court heard that the explosion occurred after oxygen levels were too high for the plant to be operated safely without the risk of fire or explosion, according the

The company was also reportedly well aware of the existing risk.

The fine was welcomed by the WA Department of Mines and Petroleum's resources safety director Simon Ridge.

“This was a terrible incident for Mr Eames, his family and work colleagues – so it is crucial companies that aren’t following safety procedures are brought to account,” Ridge said.

“The safety and health of workers in the Western Australian resources industry is and will always remain the number one priority for the department.

“Most companies operate to high safety standards but there are always further improvements that can be made to make WA’s resources industry even safer. That’s why government and industry must work together.”

The fine comes only a week after another work was killed in Western Australia, at Fortescue's Christmas Creek operation.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.