Indus Mining penalised for worker tragedy

Indus Mining Services has pleaded guilty over a tragic accident at the Cataby mineral sands mine in Western Australia.

The accident, which occurred in 2018, involved a 34-year-old engineering surveyor who suffered an allergic reaction to a bee sting while working at Iluka Resources’ Cataby mine.

The worker used an epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen), a medication used when someone is experiencing a severe allergic reaction, and radioed for emergency assistance, but he was found unconscious and unresponsive.

A site medic and St John’s Ambulance paramedics could not revive him.

The worker was airlifted to Royal Perth Hospital where he was in an induced coma, and passed away two weeks later.

Mines safety director at the Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, Andrew Chaplyn said bees were a known issue at the Cataby mine.

While Indus had informed Iluka Resources of the worker’s allergy, the company did not reveal that his allergy was life threatening or that he had previously been hospitalised from a bee sting.

Indus pleaded guilty in the Moora Magistrates Court in Western Australia for not providing a safe working environment to the contracted employee.

The company was fined $60,000 and ordered to pay $6000 in costs over the contractor’s death.

“This incident is a reminder to all mining companies to make safety a priority,” Chaplyn said.

“Employers should ensure site managers are aware of the significant information in a worker’s medical assessment to ensure their employees are not exposed to hazardous working environments.”