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News News Unions are concerned about BHP's safety record after tragic death at WA mine

UnionsWA is calling for the release of a safety report into BHP Billiton's Perseverance nickel mine at Leinster after a worker died on site after the underground truck he was driving fell 18 metres down a shaft.
It took rescuers almost 24 hours to get to the 45-year-old truck driver, who was already dead. Operations on the mine have been suspended.
This tragic incident is the third accident on the mine in the last 10 months. Last year the mine was temporarily closed after three workers were trapped underground for several hours in two separate rockfall incidents.


The State Government expressed concerns about BHP's safety record after the two accidents in 2009. The incidents led to a prohibition notice at the mine, preventing BHP from operating there until the site was declared safe by an independent investigator. The findings of the safety inquiry were never made public.
Steve McCartney, from the Manufacturing Workers Union, says BHP has kept the results of that inquiry secret and the Leinster nickel mine is unsafe.
"We believe BHP has still got endemic safety problems," he says. “And most of those safety problems are based on a lack of communications, and also workers' ability to put forward safety concerns without fear or favour, without it impacting on their future employment."
UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk expressed sorrow and anger at the incident. “It is completely unacceptable that any worker should be in danger whilst undertaking the routine tasks involved in their job. BHP has had a number of warning incidents within the last 10 months and this tragic accident raises very serious questions as to the organisation’s commitment to the safety of the workers on their sites.”

 
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