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Tributes flow after mining celebrity suffers fatal fall

Ron Selig free falls from roof
Ron Selig free falls from roof

Colleagues, loved ones and fans are reeling from a workplace tragedy in Queensland.

Ron Selig reportedly tried to repair a storm damaged workshop roof and free-fell to the ground on 26 November 2022. Although emergency responders came as quickly as they could they failed to revive the 66-year-old and declared the television personality dead at the scene.

Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ) has launched an ongoing investigation into the incident.

“A structural member failed, causing the worker to fall approximately 5.8 metres to ground,” investigators said in a January 19 safety notice.

“It is understood the worker accessed the roof of the workshop to make repairs, following damage caused by a severe weather event.”

Selig had regularly appeared on the Discovery Channel’s Outback Opal Hunters television series about six opal mining teams hunting for the “most fascinating” gemstone in harsh and remote conditions.

Independent film company Prospero Productions described the late celebrity as a “much loved” family member.

“[He was] a great character and amazing opal hunter, always chasing that colour. We will always fondly remember Ron,” a spokesperson said on Facebook.

The social media post went viral on the internet, attracting more than 1800 reactions, 422 comments and 78 shares at the time of publication.

Grieving daughter Mel thanked everyone for their “loving kindness” during this difficult time, and revealed her father privately behaved the same when he was on-camera.

“The passing and the loss of our father Ron has been the most challenging time for me and our whole family. Ron’s mother, children, grandchildren and friends included, as well as yourselves,” she commented.

“Ron is exactly how he is in real life as he was on the Outback Opal Hunters! Dad was a kind, caring and a fun loving man who always would come out with the funniest jokes! Ron was an easy going guy too!”

The woman promised to keep watching every episode her father appeared in, and invited others to do the same.

“We will also continue to enjoy the episodes he was on, as I am sure, you all will too. Thanks again for your loving kindness and condolences to Ron Selig! He was definitely one of a kind, we shall dearly miss our dad/grandfather – Ron,” she commented.

RSHQ recommended that all site senior executives ensure:

  • persons required to work at heights have adequate knowledge and are appropriately trained and assessed as competent to perform the task safely
  • emergency services are provided with detailed instructions on both the location and travel routes to enable the most efficient access to remote mining operations
  • appropriate facilities are provided to minimise the risk of persons falling from heights i.e. scaffold, elevated work platforms, fall restraint / arrest personal protective equipment
  • repairs or modifications to fixed plant structures are performed in accordance with the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM’s) design and instructions, so that it remains fit for its intended use and work environment.

“All operators should [also] ensure all plant and equipment is maintained in a safe state in accordance with the OEM’s instructions,” the safety notice said.

Investigations continue.

Click here to read the full safety notice.

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