Central Queensland mine death prompts industry warning
THE father of a Central Queensland coalminer killed in a workplace incident has finally been given some answers, with an investigation into the tragedy now complete.
Jack Gerdes died at Baralaba North coalmine on July 7 last year when he was crushed between the retractable staircase and the body on a Komatsu PC4000 excavator.
The Queensland Mines Inspectorate has released a safety alert to industry with findings on the miner's death.
His father Brian Gerdes, from Mount Perry, told the Daily Mercury he would have more answers when details of the full investigation were released in three weeks.
"We've still got to put it all together and present it to the coroner," Mr Gerdes said.
The safety alert noted there had been two other related incidents in other states, which resulted in serious accidents.
"There were no witnesses to the (Baralaba North) accident, however it was determined that the most likely cause of the accident was that the operator tripped on the upper stairs or mid platform and became entangled within Cell A2 of the handrails as the ladder was rotating down from the vertical position," it stated.
"While there were several potential scenarios of how he became entangled, the evidence and analysis of data from the scene, indicated that when he tripped he inadvertently activated the emergency valve positioned behind the rails."
It was found the valve had been accessible to operators and could be operated manually in a way inconsistent with the ladder manufacturer's requirements.
The mines inspectorate put forward five recommendations, which included for mine operators to consider an audit of retractable ladder systems installed on mobile equipment to ensure they were installed and operated in line with the manufacturer's recommendations.
A Queensland Mines Inspectorate spokesman said it had not launched any legal proceedings into the death.
Mr Gerdes said his son was dearly missed by family and friends.
They plan to hold a Jack Daniels-themed pub crawl to mark the anniversary of his funeral, which has been pushed back to October due to coronavirus restrictions.
"He was doing up his hot rod, a 1956 International Pickup and was just about to finish it when the accident happened," Mr Gerdes said.
"His brothers are now finishing it for him."