Grasstree fatality prompts calls for mine manslaughter laws

THE MINING union has called for Queensland’s industrial manslaughter laws to be applied to the mining industry, following the release of a report into the death in 2014 of electrician Paul McGuire at Anglo American’s Grasstree longwall mine in Queensland.
Grasstree fatality prompts calls for mine manslaughter laws Grasstree fatality prompts calls for mine manslaughter laws Grasstree fatality prompts calls for mine manslaughter laws Grasstree fatality prompts calls for mine manslaughter laws Grasstree fatality prompts calls for mine manslaughter laws
Anglo was fined $137,500 in 2016 by the Mackay Magistrates' Court after the Magistrate found that the company's "basic failures have cost the man his life".
 
The fine represents the cost of two hours of the mine's operation, according to the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union.
 
The Queensland Mines Inspectorate previously found 21 breaches of regulations by the mine. The regulator released a report into the fatality late last week which makes recommendations for safety improvements at the mine - four years after the event.
 
CFMEU Queensland district branch president Stephen Smyth said the union expected much more from the Queensland government than belated safety recommendations.
 
"It is only the threat of criminal prosecutions that will force mining companies to take people's lives and safety seriously," he said.
 
"Political pressure from mining industry lobby groups with deep pockets succeeded in exempting the entire resources industry from industrial manslaughter laws introduced by the Queensland government last year.
 
"Why should the mining industry be exempt from being held accountable for serious safety breaches? Miners' lives should be worth the same as any other workers."
The report released last week changes nothing, according to Smyth. 
 
"The regulator seems incapable of making the company accountable in any way, shape or form," he said.
 
"Despite 21 instances of breaches of law at the mine at the time of the fatality, the only consequences are a paltry fine, and recommendations that are four years too late.