Finance Work Queensland to examine two decades of mine deaths

Queensland to examine two decades of mine deaths

queensland mine death
Jack Gerdes is the sixth miner to die in Queensland in a year. Photo: Getty
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Queensland will examine all fatal incidents in its mines and quarries since 2000, following the death of six mine workers in the state in a year.

Jack Gerdes, 27, was fatally injured at the Baralaba North Coal Mine, operated by project solutions group Golding, early on Sunday.

He was the sixth mine worker to die – four of them coal workers – in Queensland in the past 12 months.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up by Mr Gerdes’ devastated colleagues to help his family pay for his funeral expenses.

“Jack was one of the good ones,” the page, under the heading “Saying Goodbye to Jack”, says.

“Always up for a laugh or a chat. He touched so many people with his loyalty, compassion and dry sense of humor [sic]. He always had a smile and will be missed greatly.”

By midday on Tuesday (AEST), the campaign had raised more than $1800 of its $20,000 target.

Mr Gerdes, an experienced mining operator, was at an excavator in the open mining pit at Baralaba North about 1.30am on Sunday to begin waste mining activities.

He was found on the stairs of the excavator with injuries to his head, face and limbs, after he failed to respond to a truck that turned up for loading, Golding said.

It’s believed Mr Gerdes got caught between the body of the excavator and the safety rails of the stairs.

The circumstances leading up to his death is the focus of an investigation. The mine site remains shut but might reopen on Wednesday.

Mr Gerdes’ death prompted crisis talks on mine safety on Monday between the Queensland government, representatives of the mining industry and unions, including the QRC, CFMMEU and AWU.

After the meeting, state Mines Minister Anthony Lynham announced a review into fatal coal mine incidents would be expanded to include mineral mine and quarry incidents since 2000.

Forensic structural engineer Sean Brady will lead the review. It will be completed by the end of the year, and will examine how the industry can improve safety.

The University of Queensland will also examine the sector’s health and safety legislation to ensure it’s up to date with mining practice and technology.

The state government has urged mining company CEOs and union representatives to attend an urgent safety forum on Wednesday.

The ABC also revealed on Monday that the Mine Health and Safety Advisory Committee has sat idle for six months because it could not reach a gender quota. In that time, four miners have died.

Mr Lynham told the broadcaster the committee would be re-established this week, with a meeting scheduled immediately.

Just hours after Mr Gerdes died at Baralaba North, a 57-year-old man was injured when he fell about 10 metres from a platform at Glencore’s Collinsville Coal Mine.

He suffered suspected back and pelvic injuries. The Mines Inspectorate is investigating.

-with AAP