Exact Mining Services fined $130,000 for Telfer fatality

Exact Mining Services was fined $130,000 in Perth Magistrates Court following an incident that killed a worker in late 2013.
Date: Thursday, 25 February 2016

Exact Mining Services was fined $130,000 in Perth Magistrates Court yesterday for failing to provide a safe working environment following an incident that killed a worker in late 2013.

Stephen Hampton was killed when he was crushed by a section of polyethylene pipe at a tailings storage facility at the Telfer Gold Mine on 4 December 2013.

Mr Hampton and a co-worker were working on one section of the 60 metre long pipe, while another section was being moved by an industrial forklift.

The pipe moved suddenly, striking Mr Hampton's co-worker and crushing Mr Hampton against the ground.

Exact pleaded guilty to charges under the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994 for failing to provide a safe working environment.

During sentencing Magistrate Martin Flynn said Exact Mining could have prevented exposing Mr Hampton to the hazard.

"A proper risk assessment would have revealed pipe slide as a hazard," he said.

"The SOP (Safe Operating Procedure) was deficient … (and) didn't prohibit simultaneous operations at both ends.

"When there is a very large, heavy object being moved while workers may be close by, the employer needs to look very closely at its procedures."

Magistrate Flynn also noted that while the task had been done for 10 years without prior incident, it was not a momentary adventure and was part of usual operations.

"It was a serious offence and a significant failure to not address a foreseeable risk," he said.

"Companies cannot become complacent and allow unsafe practices to occur during their usual operations."

State Mining Engineer Andrew Chaplyn said the Department of Mines and Petroleum's investigation found the company failed to ensure hazards were adequately identified and risks assessed.

"These failures essentially placed Mr Hampton and a co-worker in the direct line of fire in the event of uncontrolled movement of the pipe," he said.

Mr Chaplyn said the company entered an early guilty plea to the charges.

"The company has worked with the department and assisted throughout the investigation and court process," he said.

"While the company is deeply regretful, the incident was preventable.

"Mr Hampton's death was the result of the company’s failure to put adequate safety measures in place and serves as a strong reminder that safety needs to be the number one priority for everyone, including mine operators.

"There is no room for complacency when it comes to safety in the work place."

The department's resources safety reforms are at the heart of continued efforts to assist the resources industry to reach the ultimate goal of zero harm.