AGNEW Gold Mining Company has been fined $75,000 for failing to provide a safe working environment following an incident that left three Goldfields mine workers seriously injured.
The company pleaded guilty earlier this year and was sentenced today in the Perth Magistrates Court.
The charges were laid following an investigation by the Department of Mines and Petroleum after the incident on January 10, 2012, at Agnew’s Waroonga underground mine.
The department’s acting mine safety director Doug Barclay said the workers were injured when sheets of steel mesh leaning against a wall in the underground mine fell onto them.
“Two of the workers were crushed and one was struck by the steel mesh when it fell,” Mr Barclay said.
“Seventy-four sheets of steel mesh fell with a combined weight of almost three tonnes.”
The two workers crushed by the mesh both suffered multiple pelvic fractures, while one also suffered rib fractures and a lacerated liver.
The worker that was struck suffered a compound fracture to his right leg.
“The way this mesh was stacked was contrary to the company’s own safe work procedures and counter to a 1999 recommendation by the State Coroner,” Mr Barclay said.
The recommendation stemmed from a 1998 fatality at another Western Australian mine site, when a worker was crushed by 15 sheets of mesh that had been leaning up against a wall.
Mr Barclay said the Coroner’s Recommendation had been highlighted by the department and the risks were known.
“This was a potentially deadly incident and it should not have occurred,” Mr Barclay said.
“I hope this decision sends a strong message to industry about the importance of following safe work procedures and minimising risks.”