March 1, 2023
After a shocking start to 2023 in the Queensland mining industry, our Queensland District is urging everyone to back a campaign for greater justice and accountability over worker deaths.
A spate of dangerous dozer rollovers in coal mines was followed by the tragic death of two miners at MMG’s underground zinc mine near Mt Isa in February.
The bodies of 36-year-old Trevor Davis and 33-year-old Dylan Langridge were found after their vehicle fell fifteen metres down a stope, sending shockwaves through the mining industry.
Concerns about safety were already high after the series of dangerous vehicle incidents. A worker at Saraji suffered serious internal injuries after his dozer rolled several meters. At Curragh, a dozer backed off a bench into a body of water. At Moorvale, an operator was trapped inside the cab of a rolled dozer for eight hours. Another dozer rollover occurred just days later at Moranbah North just hours after the Union issued a safety alert regarding the preceding incidents. An additional incident occurred when two vehicles collided at Poitrel mine in Coppabella, west of Mackay.
Resources Safety & Health Queensland have since issued compliance directives to the mine operators regarding the dozer rollovers and are investigating the fatalities at MMG underground mine.
The Queensland District continues to use every avenue available to improve safety systems across the industry. Meanwhile, the District has launched the ‘Justice for Miners’ campaign to ensure that those responsible for the serious injury or death of our workmates are held to account.
Since 2019, six coal miners have been killed at work (this doesn’t include zinc miners Trevor Davis and Dylan Langridge) and many more have been seriously injured, yet there has been a consistent failure to prosecute in the wake of devastating accidents and fatalities.
No charges were laid against Anglo over the horrific explosion at Grosvenor in May 2020. No charges have been laid over the death of Graham Dawson at Crinum mine in 2021. Charges were dropped in the matter of David Routledge, killed at Middlemount mine in 2019. Charges were lodged but later withdrawn over the death of Donald Rabbitt at Curragh mine in 2020. No charges have been laid over the death of Gavin Feltwell at Moranbah North in 2022. And the family of Bradley Hardwick, killed at Moranbah North mine in 2019 is still waiting for justice.
Mining and Energy Union Queensland President Stephen Smyth said that the Queensland Government cannot keep saying that the state has the world’s best safety legislation while nothing happens.
“We celebrated a victory when Queensland’s industrial manslaughter laws were extended to cover the mining industry in 2020. However, these laws are only valuable if there is an appetite by our regulators and political representatives to use them.
“At the moment, mining communities are feeling let down that as workers are killed and injured, companies and executives don’t appear to be facing consequences.
“That’s why we are calling on the responsible Ministers to hold the regulator and workplace health and safety prosecutor to account for delivering justice for killed and injured miners.”
Leesh Dawson the daughter of Graham Dawson who was killed at Crinum mine in 2021 also said that the lack of justice only compounds the grief felt by loved ones, and that more needs to be done by political representatives.
“Each time we get an update, it’s just okay, you know a few more months, three months, six months… the grief is delayed and we’re not able to grieve properly.
“It’s not fair that just because these are large organisations that nothing gets done.
“We elect these people and put them in power to be our voice.
The Justice for Miners Campaign calls on the Queensland Minister for Resources, and the Minister for Industrial Relations to use their powers to ensure that the industry regulator and workplace health and safety prosecutor are held to account for their repeated failures to prosecute individuals and companies over incidents which have killed and seriously injured mineworkers.
Add your voice at JusticeForMiners.com.au