Accidents shut down Anglo mines

CRUSHED: The cab of a ute was crushed after a mine dump truck  drove over it at Dawson Mine on Friday.
CRUSHED: The cab of a ute was crushed after a mine dump truck drove over it at Dawson Mine on Friday.

A UNION organiser has blasted Anglo Coal for “extremely” poor safety after operations at both its Callide and Dawson mines were shut down due to two accidents within 24 hours.

A dump truck and a ute collided at Dawson coal mine, Moura, on Friday morning whie at the Callide coal mine, near Biloela, a bulldozer was buried during excavation on Thursday night.

No one was injured in either accident.

The Queensland Government’s chief inspector of coal mines Gavin Taylor said the department had suspended operations because of the mines “ineffective safety and health management systems”.

Inspectors lifted the suspension at the Dawson Mine on Friday night after mine management made changes to the mine's safety and health management system which satisfied inspectors that operations can be conducted with risk at acceptable levels.

While the directive which triggered the suspension remains in place at Callide Mine, on Sunday inspectors permitted a graduated return to work while elements of the mine's safety and health management system are re-evaluated and changes are communicated to workers.

This means that as each shift turns up for work they must first undergo retraining in the new safety procedures before they can start their shift.

It is anticipated a full resumption will be possible as the last of the roster cycles are retrained as they come back on shift over the 24 hours.

Both incidents are still subject to investigation.

Chris Gilbert, an organiser with the Construction, Forestry and Mining Union, said the systems Anglo Coal had in place for addressing hazards had not been working.

Mr Gilbert said half of their investigations into accidents blamed “operator error”.

Workers were also being asked to do jobs that would have been deemed too unsafe 20 years ago.

Mr Gilbert said in both accidents it was “extremely lucky” that no one was hurt.

“They need to stop and look at what’s going on,” he said.

An Anglo Coal spokeswoman said it was investigating both accidents.

She denied that the bulldozer was “buried” in the accident in Callide and said the operator was able to safely exit the cabin after a small amount of earth from the side of a low wall gave way.

“The safety of all employees and contractors is Anglo-American’s number one priority,” she said.

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