Mining company pays $1.4 million after worker death
Managing risks is a non-negotiable requirement for every business. Critical risks in workplaces must not only be identified, but also managed effectively. This includes risks inherent in actions taken to mitigate known risks.
Mining company Oceana Gold has been sentenced, after the death of a worker in July 2016. They appeared in Tauranga District Court for sentencing in March and a decision was released on May 10th.
The worker had been driving an earthmoving machine underground when it fell 15 metres off a vertical edge. An investigation found that Oceana Gold had failed to develop and implement a safe system of work for the creation of 1.5-metre-high bunds above vertical slopes.
Oceana Gold had identified the risk and the solution of bunds to reduce the risk of a vehicle falling into a void. However, they had not effectively mitigated the risks involved in implementing that solution. Following the incident, Oceana Gold developed an innovative, non-industry-standard procedure for placing steel bollards along open slopes, to stop an incident like this from happening again.
A fine of $378,000 was imposed and reparations of $350,000 were ordered. Voluntary reparations of $660,000 had already been paid by Oceana.