QMEB » ‘Catastrophic’ blow to head killed worker says authority
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‘Catastrophic’ blow to head killed worker says authority

Gareth Dodunski
Gareth Dodunski

A severe cranial impact ended an employee’s life, an investigation found.

Authorities recently confirmed Gareth Leo Dodunski died from “catastrophic head injuries” at Fairwell Mining Camp near Injune, 633km southwest of Bundaberg.

Coroner Donald MacKenzie made the grim discovery after reviewing circumstances surrounding the June 2013 incident.

The Coroners Court of Queensland heard driller Jacob Kilby experienced “momentary inattention” when pressing the wrong button and accidentally activating heavy machinery.

The hydraulic ST-80 iron roughneck switched on then fatally struck Dodunski at the rig, operated by Saxon Energy Services Australia and contracted by Santos.

“Tragically Mr Kilby engaged the ST-80 while Gareth was still in the danger zone,” MacKenzie said according to the Australian Associated Press.

The Petroleum and Gas Inspectorate’s incident report earlier showed Kilby “did not attempt an emergency stop of the ST-80 using the other hardwired button”.

Saxon, Santos and Dodunski’s crew failed to officially address potential risks surrounding the roughneck after a similar accident occurred in South Australia. All issues have since been addressed according to the coroner.

However, grieving parents Philip and Michelle described the responsible employers as “complete cowboys” who got away with it “every time”.

“These companies need to stop putting profit and production over workers’ safety. We stopped counting at nine fatalities after Gareth in the resources sector,” the mother said according to the newswire agency.

“Resources Safety and Health Queensland needs to be doing unannounced inspections … on these multinational companies. They are the sheriff of the industry – get out there and do your job.”

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