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Australia Tas mine death involved 'high risk' work

10:20  25 october  2021
10:20  25 october  2021 Source:   aap.com.au

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Work being undertaken by a former British Royal Marine when he died in a rock fall at a Tasmanian mine carried a high level of residual risk, an inquest has been told.

Father-of-two Nathaniel Beesley was killed at Grange Resoures' iron ore mine in Tasmania. © The Advocate/AAP PHOTOS Father-of-two Nathaniel Beesley was killed at Grange Resoures' iron ore mine in Tasmania.

Father-of-two Nathaniel Beesley, 32, was killed on March 17, 2017 at Grange Resoures' iron ore mine in the state's northwest.

He was employed by contractor SRG to conduct scaling, in which loose or potentially loose rocks are removed, as a protective measure for operations below.

Mr Beesley had twice toured Afghanistan and was awaiting transfer to the Australian Army after moving to the country about a year earlier.

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Worksafe Tasmania mine inspector Craig Sault, who reviewed the incident, said scaling carried a high level of residual risk even after safety controls are applied.

"There is a level of risk acceptance by all parties," he told the inquest in Hobart Magistrates Court on Monday.

Mr Sault said the planes and angles of the rock at the site varied in their percentage of bonding.

"It is very difficult to make any sort of assessment where you're faced with a brittle rock with joints like this and the structures it had," he said.

"No one could give an absolute surety that with all the controls in place that there would not be rockfall."

The inquest heard Mr Beesley was undertaking the scaling as part of a team of four.

Mr Sault said he had a "concern" around the fact two of workers were "somewhat inexperienced" but noted an experienced worker was stationed in between them.

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He said they were given advice and guidance, full support from geotechnical staff on site and meetings were conducted each morning.

"There was a lot of support around them, they weren't just sent to do a task."

The risk at the mine would have been higher, Mr Sault said, if the scaling had not been done as part of preparatory work for building a mesh rock-containing structure.

The inquest was told it took several days to recover the body of Mr Beesley, who abseiled the mine's east wall to conduct the scaling.

The inquest will examine the manner and method for scaling at the mine, prior risk assessments, training provided to workers and whether there were alternatives to scaling.

Mr Sault said he believed Mr Beesley received sufficient training beforehand.

Ms Beesley's widow, Katie, is expected to give evidence on Tuesday, as are several workmates.

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This is interesting!