Solid sacks contractor over OHS breach

SOLID Energy has fired a mining and civil contractor at its Ohai mine in New Zealand following a potential high-risk health and safety incident in which nobody was hurt but safety systems were seriously breached.
Solid sacks contractor over OHS breach Solid sacks contractor over OHS breach Solid sacks contractor over OHS breach Solid sacks contractor over OHS breach Solid sacks contractor over OHS breach


Lou Caruana

The operations at the mine were already under Solid Energy’s health and safety spotlight after the company temporarily shut down contractor Stracon’s operations last December because of safety concerns triggered by a vehicle incident.

Solid Energy agreed to a restart of the contractor’s operations two weeks ago, following a comprehensive safety review of site activities and all mobile plant and equipment but decided to act after another safety breach by the contractor.

Solid Energy general manager opencast operations Stephen Esposito said the new incident had caused the company to lose confidence in the contractor’s ability to meet its health and safety expectations.

“This is not a decision that has been taken lightly, as it is not ideal for either party,” Esposito said. “[H]ealth and safety comes first and is never ever compromised by production. All work carried out on site must meet our health and safety standards or not take place at all.

“The site was operated by Stracon and Solid Energy is now considering how it will operate the site going forward.

“Ohai mine is still open for coal sales and we do not expect any customer disruptions as a result of this contract termination.”

Stracon did not respond to questions by ILN in time for publication.

In October 2010, Stracon was awarded a 36-month contract to supply mining and civil services to undertake the rehabilitation of the No. 6 open cast coal mine at the Ohai coal field for Solid Energy, according to the Stracon website.

The scope of the work included civil works for drainage control, drill and blast, load and haul of approximately 3.1 million BCM of material to stabilise batters for final mine closure.