Cause of miner's death still unclear

THE shock death of 34-year-old electrician Paul McGuire at a Central Queensland mine site has prompted mining inspectors to dispatch an industry-wide warning, but one safety expert fears there is still too little information available for workers to take action.

Mr McGuire was killed at Anglo American's Grasstree underground coal mine near Middlemount on May 6.

It is believed he entered a pocket of the site where there was no breathable air.

His death was the 12th mining fatality in the past eight months.

Police, industry and company investigations are now under way.

Mining Safety Institute Australia boss Mark Parcell said there was still much more to know about the tragic incident.

On the information released so far, Mr Parcell said it was unclear how the death occurred.

"I'm sure the full and proper investigation will aim to find out what has happened," Mr Parcell said.

"That's not available from preliminary information.

"If nothing else, it's a reminder not just at mines but at every workplace that the risk at workplaces are real and everyone has to be vigilant.

"We can't afford these terrible incidents," he said.

Anglo American is not discussing the incident while it remains under investigation

The safety alert from the Queensland Mines inspectors describes issues with "inadequate controls" being used to stop people reaching dangerous parts of a mine.

It includes "issues" relating to Mr McGuire's death including the use of barriers around hazardous areas.

Proper signage, employees working alone and whether they can access up-to-date information are also named as concerns.

Topics:  mining occupational health and safety safety

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