LakeCoal Pty Ltd fined $180,000 and ordered to pay court costs

LakeCoal Pty Ltd has been fined $180,000 by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment’s Resources Regulator for a breach of the Work Health and Safety Act and causing a worker at Mannering Colliery to be seriously injured.
The proceedings related to an incident on January 22, 2016, at the 40-year-old underground coal mine on Ruttleys Rd, Doyalson.
The worker was severely injured while driving a loader underground, when a damaged steel roof support strap entered the open cab and struck the man’s head near his left eye.
The incident left the employee with a severe head laceration which required 60 stitches and his temporal artery was damaged.
It was the worker’s first day on duty underground at this mine.
At the time of the incident, the mine operator, LakeCoal, did not have a health and safety management system in place in accordance with the Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Regulation 2014, because an exemption applied because the mine had been in a state of care and maintenance since 2012.
LakeCoal had just started the transition to recommence operations and contracted LD Operations Pty Ltd to provide labour and services for a project to build an underground link from the mine to the adjacent Chain Valley Colliery.
The worker was employed by LD Operations and both LakeCoal and LD Operations are part of the LDO Group, which also operates Chain Valley Colliery.
The Court found the offence fell in the mid-range of objective seriousness and imposed the fine and ordered LakeCoal to pay the Regulator’s legal costs.
The Resources Regulator’s Chief Investigator, Steve Orr, said the judgement reflected community standards for mine safety.
“The Court’s decision sends a strong message that the community expects mine operators to comply with their work health and safety obligations,” Orr said.
“This matter serves as a timely reminder to companies to ensure that they have appropriate controls in place to protect workers.”
Related prosecution proceedings against LD Operations Pty Ltd are ongoing.
The Regulator alleges that LD Operations, the employer of the injured worker, failed to ensure the provision of safe systems of work, and failed to provide proper training and instruction to workers.
The Regulator commenced Category 2 proceedings under section 19 and section 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 for failure to comply with a health and safety duty.
Category 2 work health and safety offences committed by a company attract a maximum penalty of $1.5M.
As the LD Operations matter is before the Court, further details will not be released.
The matter has been adjourned to September 30.

Media statements, Aug 26, Sept 5
Media release, Aug 13
Investigation Report, Nov 2017
NSW Resources Regulator, Dept Planning & Environment
Journalist, Sue Murray

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