BHP pledges to largest safety undertaking in NSW

Mt Arthur coal operation. Image: BHP

BHP has committed to the largest safety undertaking ever in New South Wales at the Mt Arthur coal mine near Muswellbrook following its safety breach in August 2017.

A Mt Arthur worker was severely injured two years ago when a diesel fire started while he was refuelling a tyre handler at the mine’s heavy vehicle refuelling facility, according to chief investigator Steve Orr.

The enforceable undertaking, valued at almost $1.1 million, will deliver significant engineering improvements at Mt Arthur, industry training and monetary support for the region’s Rural Fire Service.

Mt Arthur will deliver a $793,000 engineering upgrades to its heavy vehicle refuelling facility and other diesel distribution facilities.

It will also donate $200,000 toward the implementation of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service’s initiatives. BHP is obliged to complete the undertaking within 24 months.

“This is the highest value mining work health and safety undertaking accepted in New South Wales to date,” Orr said.

“The regulator accepted the enforceable undertaking as it will deliver tangible benefits to the workforce and community that could not be achieved through prosecution action alone.”

Lessons from the investigation have been shared widely with the mining industry using digital animations to demonstrate exactly how the incident happened.

These animations are the first of their kind to be developed by a work health and safety regulator anywhere in Australia and are aimed at helping the industry address safety issue.

Mt Arthur is the largest individual coal production site in the New South Wales Hunter Valley, according to BHP.