Resources Regulator accepts enforceable undertaking from Sibelco China over sand mine accident

A SALT Ash sand mine operator will avoid further criminal prosecution over an accident in which a worker fell nearly three metres from a dump truck, fracturing his skull.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

The man was working for Sibelco , the mine operator of the Salt Ash Sand Plant, on Feburary 1, 2016, when he fell 2.7 metres from the off-driver’s side platform of an articulated dump truck, the Department of Planning and Environment’s Resources Regulator said.

“The worker suffered a skull fracture requiring emergency craniotomy surgery to reduce brain swelling,” the regulator’s chief compliance officer Anthony Keon said in a report.

“Injuries included a jaw fracture, a brain haemorrhage which required secondary surgery, and ongoing loss of hearing.”

Following investigations, the Resources Regulator began criminal proceedings in the District Court at the start of this year, alleging the operator had breached the Workplace Health and Safety Act. The breach carried a maximum penalty of $1.5 million.

This week, the Department of Planning and Environment’s Resources Regulator said in a statement it had accepted an enforceable undertaking from Sibelco. Anenforceable undertaking is a legally-binding agreement proposed by a company, which may be considered as an alternative to prosecution.

As part of the undertaking, Sibelco has committed to a number of initiatives with a financial commitment of at least $531,697.50, the statement said.

The undertaking requires Sibelco to develop and share an educational video on articulated dump truck safety, share at five industry events a presentation on what it had learned from the accident and create two internships at Sibelco sites for university students studying work health and safety.

The undertaking also requires the company to donate $190,000 to the Hunter Brain Injury Service Centre.

As part of the agreement, criminal prosecution of Sibelco will cease and the company will pay the regulator’s costs of$171,752, making the total value of the undertaking $703,449.50.

NSW Resources Regulator’sMr Keon said the undertaking was accepted as it provided for significantly better outcomes than what could be achieved by prosecution alone.

“This case serves as a timely reminder to mining operators of their obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act,” he said.

“The undertaking is considered significant and will provide tangible benefits to the mining industry and the community.”

Read more

Dreamworld emergency stop button ‘a risk’

An inquest is examining the Dreamworld accident that caused the deaths of (clockwise from top left) Cindy Low, Roozi Araghi, Luke Dorsett and Kate Goodchild.Dreamworld’s former engineering boss has questioned whether a single emergency stop button should have been installed onto a ride that later killed four people.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi died in October 2016 when a water pump on the Thunder River Rapids failed.

It caused water levels to drop and their raft to flip after colliding with another raft that became stuck.

Bob Tan, former general manager of engineering at the Gold Coast tourist attraction, on Thursday told an inquest into their deaths that shutting down the ride could have caused a bigger hazard.

He told coroner James McDougall putting a stop to the ride would have also turned off a water pump that would have led to dangerous amounts of water then washing through the ride.

“If two pumps turned off at the same time, there is violent water turbulence back flowing into the reservoir at the area at the bottom of the conveyor,” he said.

“I would not be comfortable to agree to doing that.”

The inquest has previously heard experts suggested a single emergency stop button be fitted during safety audits, but it could not be done because the attraction was too old to be retro-fitted.

Prior to the tragedy, Mr Tan was made aware the now defunct Wonderland theme park in Sydney had fitted a similar pump to their version of the ride.

But he did not consider making similar adjustments to the Dreamworld ride because it was built differently.

The long-running inquest has previously heard that the water pump had malfunctioned on October 19, 22, 23 and twice in the hours before the October 25 tragedy.

None of those failures were investigated.

Mr Tan, affectionately known among Dreamworld staff as the “oracle” because of the 28 years he’d worked at the park, also overlooked major modifications to the ride as posing a safety risk.

He said the removal of slats from the ride’s conveyor belt took place before he started working at the park and so didn’t see an issue with the changes.

“I was not involved in removing them but I assumed whatever had to be done was done,” he said.

“Nobody reported they had a concern, so I didn’t do what I didn’t know.”

Mr Tan, who resigned from Dreamworld in 2016, presumed safety analysis was carried out before the slats were removed but never found proof that it had been.

The inquest has previously heard the removal of the slats from the conveyor belt introduced a hazard, but Mr Tan assumed it complied with basic engineering and safety standards.

The inquest has wrapped up until December 6, when three expert witnesses will give evidence.

Read more

Perth Glory’s defence living on the edge

Alex Grant has become a mainstay of Perth Glory defence in the A-League this season.Perth Glory’s defenders are on edge and that’s a good thing according to Alex Grant.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

The arrival of coach Tony Popovic and a host of stars have reinvigorated Glory, who sit atop the A-League standings with three wins and a draw from the opening four rounds.

Glory leaked an average of 1.85 goals per game last season but have cut that figure down to one goal this campaign.

Popovic’s back-three system that is complemented by two wing backs has worked a treat, and Grant has played a key role in the heart of defence alongside Shane Lowry and Tomislav Mrcela.

But with former Socceroos defender Matthew Spiranovic nearing a return from a long-term hip injury, Grant knows he can’t take his spot in the side for granted.

“Matt is a great player. He’s got the experience playing with the Socceroos,” Grant said.

“It’s good to have him waiting in the wings.

“It’s good having that competition there. We’ve got five centre backs fighting for three spots. And it’s good, it’s healthy.”

Spiranovic, who has missed the best part of an entire year, could make his return in Sunday’s clash with Central Coast at nib Stadium.

Mrcela is available after serving his one-match suspension, meaning veteran Dino Djulbic could be forced to make way despite performing strongly in the 2-0 win over Adelaide.

Skipper Diego Castro, who hasn’t played since injuring his hamstring during the pre-season, is also in the selection mix.

The Spaniard has taken the league by storm over the past three seasons playing as an attacking midfielder but he will have to be more defensive-minded under Popovic.

“You’ll probably see a different side to Diego where he’s not doing as much of a free role as he did under Kenny (Lowe),” Grant said.

“He’ll have to maybe defend a little more.

“But knowing Diego and how professional he is, he’s more than capable of doing that and still chipping in with goals and assists.”

The Mariners, who were beaten 4-1 by Melbourne Victory in their most recent game, prop up the ladder with just two points.

Read more

Re-elected Vic Labor to move fast on road

Labor has pledged that work on the North East Link toll road will start on Monday, if re-elected.Victorian Labor has pledged to kick-start work on Melbourne’s $15.8 billion North East Link toll road on day-one back in office.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

The 26km road, which will connect the M80 ring road at Greensborough with the Eastern Freeway, was first proposed by Labor in 2008.

Premier Daniel Andrews recommitted to the project in 2016 and has already put more than $200 million into planning and design.

On Thursday he promised to call for construction tenders on Monday if successful at the ballot box.

“The tender process will begin on Monday and I know that there will be significant interest from construction companies both here and abroad to get on and build this road,” he told reporters.

He expects construction to start in 2020 and the road to open in 2027. The road will be fully funded by taxpayers.

Both Labor and the Liberal Party have promised to build the road, although Opposition Leader Matthew Guy has said he will review the plans if he wins office.

Mr Guy’s seat of Bulleen is affected by the current proposed route.

Roads Minister Luke Donnellan said a review of the project by a Liberal-Nationals government would delay construction.

“A vote for the Liberal party … will mean it will be delayed, continue to be delayed forever,” he said.

“The last four years that the Liberal party were in they simply didn’t get a major project started and completed in their term.”

Mr Andrews said the project “stacks up”, unlike the dumped East West Link toll road, which cost the state more than $1 billion to scrap in 2014.

“We have got to accept funnelling people through the centre of the city is not the answer,” he added.

“Finishing the ring road will allow people to move around the city that’s what stacks up.”

Mr Andrews then set off for Deer Park, in the state’s west, to announce the removal of three rail level crossings, some of Labor’s hit-list of 25 if re-elected.

Victorians go to the polls on Saturday.

Read more

Call for more security at hospitals

A Melbourne neurosurgeon has called for stronger security in hospitals to prevent violence, after a man was convicted of killing heart surgeon Patrick Pritzwald-Stegmann.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

Joseph Esmaili, 24, on Wednesday was found guilty of the manslaughter of Mr Pritzwald-Stegmann, 41, at Box Hill Hospital in May last year.

Michael Wong, a Melbourne neurosurgeon and spinal surgeon who nearly died after being stabbed 14 times at the Western Hospital by a mentally ill patient in 2014, called for stronger security measures in hospitals to prevent such attacks.

Dedicated staff entrances, restricted access to wards and regular security patrols of public areas were some of the measures needed, he said.

“An increased security presence in hospitals will deter violence, and may prevent tragedy like this from happening again,” Dr Wong said.

Dr Wong said over the past few months, violence, assaults and attacks in n hospitals had increased, even in small rural and big teaching hospitals.

“Staff at Sir Charles Gardner Hospital have been affected by spike in violent assaults from aggressive patients,” he said.

“Wagga Base Hospital, based in NSW, is seeing violent incidents on an almost-daily occurrence and is a growing problem.

“Hospital security should not be overlooked in an era of tight health budgets.”

Dr Wong said he and his colleagues were saddened by the senseless loss of Mr Pritzwald-Stegmann, a dedicated, caring colleague.

“The court hearing has been difficult as we “re-lived” the moments of the tragedy,” he said.

“I can imagine this is even more difficult for Christine, Patrick’s wife, and their children.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with them, and we sincerely hope that the jury’s verdict will bring some measure of comfort and closure to the family.”

The surgeon was leaving Box Hill Hospital in May last year, heading home to his wife and children, when he stopped to tell a group including Esmaili to stop smoking near the front entrance.

An argument ensued, ending with Esmaili punching the surgeon and running away.

Mr Pritzwald-Stegmann suffered bilateral skull fractures and was seen bleeding from the nose and mouth after the attack.

His life support was terminated about a month later.

Esmaili will be sentenced at a later date.

Read more