Mining company fined $65,000 over 2014 worker death in WA court

Mining company fined $65,000 over 2014 worker death in WA court

The death of an electrician, who was crushed between a lift car and the shaft at a bauxite mine in Western Australia’s south, has led to a mining company being fined $65,000.

South32 Worsley Alumina, formerly known as BHP Billiton Worsley Alumina, was fined in Collie Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to exposing Colin Whitton to hazards at the Worsley refinery on September 29, 2014.

The 66-year-old had been working at the refinery for 24 years and was believed to have been inspecting door locks when he died.

Electricians had been called to the refinery because the outer doors of a lift were not closing.

Large sections of the safety circuit were bypassed to find the fault.

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety found the company failed to ensure there were clear, written safety procedures.

“Bypassing the safety circuit effectively rendered what was theoretically a safe system unsafe,” the department’s mines safety director Andrew Chaplyn said on Tuesday.

“There was no safe work instruction for the complex task of how to fault-find this lift.

“Allowing a person to attempt to resolve technical issues without enforcing its policy for providing an integrated system for isolating and controlling hazards led to a dangerous situation.”