Macmahon fined for worker death

Macmahon has been fined $75,000 for the death of a worker at Glencore’s CSA copper mine.

The incident occurred in 2013, when Macmahon shift supervisor Jeremy Junk suffered a fatal head injury after being struck by the underside of an operating platform.

In a report into the incident, prepared by New South Wales Trade and Investment, it stated that the shaft crew were in the process of lowering a kerb ring using chain blocks in preparation for the installation of hanging rods when the incident occurred.

During the works the shaft crew used the stage signalling system to communicate with the winder driver to lower the kibble into the shaft. The winder driver lowered the kibble into the shaft and through the stage’s kibble well to the lower platform of the stage where Junk climbed into the kibble.

Workers reported that Junk intended to be raised in the kibble to the 9240 brace level to obtain hanging rods (threaded steel rods used to secure the kerb ring in place).

Workers reported that Junk signalled the winder driver to raise the kibble by ringing three bells from the communication system inside the kibble.

While the kibble was being raised through the stage’s kibble well, workers reported seeing Junk extend his head over the side of the kibble to communicate with a shaft worker on the stage.

As the kibble approached the stage’s upper platform workers reported seeing Junk’s head impact between the kibble and the upper platform of the stage.

After attempts to communicate with Junk failed, emergency response procedures were activated and an unconscious Junk was transported to the surface and taken to Cobar Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The report stated the accident was foreseeable; stating ineffective risk management procedures on site, inadequate training, and fatigue may have contributed to the accident.

However, it added that there were a number of measures in place to prevent incidents such as this from occurring, and procedures in place to minimise risk.

Macmahon pled guilty and accepted responsibility for the incident, although the report added that Macmahon believed it “did have a safe system in place, though acknowledging it could have been safer and that these “braces” had not occurred to it before the incident, not because of any lack of attention to safety, but because it simply did not think of them”.

Macmahon was fined $75,000 for the incident, which was applied after allowing a discount of 25 per cent for the guilty plea, as well as court costs.