31 Jul 2013

Solid Energy fined over miner's injury

8:03 am on 31 July 2013

The country's largest mining company has been fined more than $100,000 for failing to protect a miner who was seriously injured at work.

Paul Burton has serious spinal injuries after a large slab of coal fell on him last July at Solid Energy's now-mothballed mine Spring Creek.

Solid Energy pleaded guilty at Greymouth District Court on Tuesday to a charge under the Health and Safety in Employment Act. The company was fined $71,000 and ordered to pay reparation of $46,000.

The chief inspector of mining said the investigation showed five safety requirements had not been followed.

Solid Energy interim chief executive Garry Diack says the company accepts processes were not followed, and changes have been made. He says it was regrettable and the company is sorry for what Mr Burton and his family are going through.

Engineering, Printing & Manufacturing Union organiser Garth Elliott says it was appropriate the company was fined for serious safety failings.

He says although mines are hazardous places to work, there are ways to minimise risk and he hopes Solid Energy learns from its failings.