Monday, 21 October 2019
I'd like to make some comments today regarding workplace health and safety, Australian standards and coal-mining standards. Jack Gerdes, a 27-year-old constituent of mine who came from Mount Perry, died on 7 July 2019 as a result of a coalmining accident at Baralaba coal mine in Flynn. The hearing into this mining fatality is taking too long. It takes an average of six to 12 months before a decision from the workplace health and safety mines inspector to finalise his investigation. That is far too long. Why does it take so long? There have been six workplace fatalities in the mining industry in the last 12 months. That is six too many.
Jack was operating a large mining excavator and became entangled in the retractable ladder. It appears that Jack was searching for a pair of reset buttons that were tucked in behind the rails of the staircase leading to the machine. This incident was an avoidable tragedy and highlights the need for practical safety procedures to protect our mining community while they work. Anyone who works in a coal mine expects to come home that night in a safe condition.