Miners were ordered back to work just hours after a man was killed at BHP’s Port Hedland facility.
The unnamed 27 year old contractor, who was employed by conveyor operator Fenner Dunlop, was killed on Wednesday night when a crane toppled over at BHP’s Finucane Island iron ore facility at Port Hedland.
A worker at the site has accused BHP of ‘ruthlessness’ after employees were ‘instructed’ to work their day shifts on Thursday, according to The West.
While it was reported the site went into lock-down soon after and work was halted, workers on site were told they had to begin their 12 hour shifts from 6am, despite the accident occurring only a few hours before hand.
According to the source, workers at the iron ore facility only learnt of the accident when they arrived at work and saw a cordon.
Many walked off the job in protest.
“We feel absolutely disgusted at what’s happened," the man said.
"All our workers have said ‘no, you can’t go back to work, that’s just wrong’."
BHP has confirmed that staff at Finucane Island were told to return to their shifts the next day.
The miner’s vice president Ian Fletcher said BHP had a high safety record and that incident at midnight on Wednesday “was not a repetition” of previous fatalities.
However, recent comments to Australian Mining from alleged partners of workers at the site deny BHP forced staff to work.
They claim that all employees were sent home and given the option to return to work.
This accident has drawn attention to the number so safety inspectors in the industry, despite the fact the West Australian mines minister Norman Moore announcing the number of inspectors would double, late last year.
In December Moore announced the appointment of 21 new inspectors to the resources safety division of the Department of Mine and Petroleum (DMP).
However, shadow mines minister Jon Ford said the state would have “blood on its hands” if it continued to neglect mine safety in the Pilbara.
Ford said there was only inspector based in the Pilbara compared to nearly 15 in the Eastern Goldfields.