Qld govt smokes out underground smoker

THE Queensland Department of Natural Resources has condemned the dangerous practice of bringing cigarettes underground after a contractor was fined $11,000 in the Rockhampton Magistrates court on Friday for smoking underground at North Goonyella.
Qld govt smokes out underground smoker Qld govt smokes out underground smoker Qld govt smokes out underground smoker Qld govt smokes out underground smoker Qld govt smokes out underground smoker


Lou Caruana

The prosecution relates to an incident on April 27, 2012 in which Travis Brown, 24, was found in possession of a cigarette lighter and cigarettes, which were banned in the mine.

He admitted to having lit and smoked a cigarette underground.

The offences related to breaches of safety obligations, involving the taking of contraband items (cigarettes and a cigarette lighter) into an underground mine and wilfully or recklessly doing an act (lighting and smoking a cigarette) that could adversely affect the safety and health of someone else at the mine.

It presented a serious and significant risk of explosion as any gas present could potentially have been ignited, according to the department.

“A New Zealand-born contract mine worker was fined $11,000 in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court on 19 April 2013 on charges relating to allegations of smoking underground at the North Goonyella coal mine near Moranbah on 27 April 2012,” a spokesman for the department told ILN in a statement.

“Travis Brown, 24, was prosecuted on two counts brought by Queensland government mines inspectors under section 34 of the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999.

“Mr Brown was found guilty on both counts and ordered to pay costs of $10,841.70. No conviction was recorded.”

The successful prosecution reinforces the necessity for all workers in the mining industry to comply fully with Queensland’s mining safety and health laws, according to the department.

“We have tough laws in place to minimise the potential risk of injury or death to workers and ensure mining operations in Queensland are conducted in accordance with the highest standards of safety,” the spokesman said.

“Underground coal mines are difficult working environments at the best of times.

“The presence of combustible gases and coal dust means there is a potential for fire or explosion if strict safety procedures are not followed to the letter.

“This person, through his actions, was not only endangering himself but the lives of his fellow mine workers.”