A mine worker who was fatally struck by a large locomotive will be fondly remembered.
Colleagues and loved ones are mourning the tragic loss of Jody Byrne who died on 7 February 2023, shortly after a train collided with him at the Boodarie rail yard (13km southwest of Port Hedland) .
Employer BHP confirmed the late 51-year-old’s coworkers, wife, three children and four grandchildren will always admire and cherish him.
“Jody joined BHP in 2013 and worked in our Queensland coal and WA iron ore teams. He lived in Port Hedland with his wife Maxine. Jody was a respected and valued member of our team and the community, and he will be deeply missed,” BHP Western Australian iron ore (WAIO) asset president Brandon Craig said according to Seven West Media.
“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Jody’s family and friends, and we are providing all the support we can to them during this difficult time. We are also providing support to members of the rail team who have lost a colleague and friend in such tragic circumstances.”
Craig personally visited the scene of the accident and joined workers in mourning their sudden loss. WAIO operations were suspended for a 24-hour “safety stop” and “employee assistance” was extended to those impacted.
“The site incident management team has been activated and police have attended the scene. BHP is working closely with the relevant authorities and we will also undertake a full investigation to understand what has happened,” the proponent said in an earlier public statement.
WorkSafe, the Office of National Rail Safety Regulator and WA Police Force have begun determining exactly what caused the heavy vehicle incident.
The Mining and Energy Union (MEU) revealed Byrne had relocated to WA from Townsville where he worked as a train driver for BHP Mitsubishi Alliance. He later accepted a ground person role at the Boodarie rail yard.
MEU WA district secretary Greg Busson described the former Queenslander as an experienced operator whose life tragically ended due to “one mistake”.
State Mines and Petroleum, Energy, Corrective Services and Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston urged the broader industry to review and improve workplace health and safety practices to “eliminate” further tragedies.
“As always the sole responsibility for workplace safety rests with the employer,” he said according to the media outlet.