Mining company fined $60,000 over bee sting death

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Date: 
Friday, 28 August, 2020 - 12:45
Category: 
Incidents & prosecutions
Location: 
Western Australia

A mining services company in WA was recently fined $60,000 and ordered to pay $6,000 in costs over the death of a contractor who suffered a severe allergic reaction after being stung by a bee in February 2018. 

The 34-year-occupational lung diseases engineering surveyor was working alone at Iluka Resources’ Cataby mine site around 150km north of Perth.

Shortly after being stung, the worker self-administered an EpiPen and radioed for emergency assistance.

Co-workers found him unconscious and unresponsive some minutes later. A site medic and St John’s Ambulance paramedics were unable to revive him.

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

Indus Mining Services Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in the Moora Magistrates Court for failing to provide a safe working environment in which a contracted employee was not exposed to hazards.

While Indus informed Iluka Resources of the worker’s allergy, it did not convey that his condition was life-threatening or that he had previously been hospitalised for a bee sting.

Bees were known to be prolific and a problem at the Cataby mine site, said Andrew Chaplyn, mines safety director at the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.

“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.”