Anglo pleads guilty over death
Wednesday 02 November 2016
Anglo American has pleaded guilty in the Mackay Magistrates Court to failing to meet its safety obligations in the tragic death of Grasstree miner Paul McGuire in 2014.
The court heard Mr McGuire was following the instructions on his job card when he fatally opened a hatch into a sealed goaf [previously mined area] exposing himself to highly toxic gases that killed him almost “instantly”.
The prosecution said it was the third time in nearly six months that a job card had been issued for the repair of the gas sensor Mr McGuire was looking for when he died.
While acknowledging mistakes were made, Anglo American’s defence Barrister did say that the hatch was closed with a nut and bolt, and had a physical appearance which should have indicated to a miner that it was the entry to a goaf.
Nonetheless, Anglo American pleaded guilty, acknowledging that the failure wasn't a one off and an ongoing tragedy for the family.
The prosecutor dropped a second charge against Anglo and two further charges against mine manager Adam Garde.
The maximum fine possible for the guilty charge is $500,000, but the prosecution says it’s seeking a fine at the lower end of the spectrum around $100,000.
Anglo has already covered the costs of the funeral, travel and accommodation, and have given Mr McGuire's children a scholarship.
Since the incident, Anglo has implemented new rules which mean electricians will have to be accompanied by a deputy for similar work in the future, and that on each shift, deputies will inspect areas to ensure “no road” [warning] tape is in place.The court will decide on damages shortly.
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