Coal stack collapses

A GLADSTONE Ports Corporation worker narrowly escaped injury after a large coal stockpile collapsed on Sunday night.

The worker was driving past the coal stockpile when it collapsed suddenly and crushed part of his vehicle, but he was not injured.

Witnesses from the Ports Corporation told The Observer the coal stockpile slumped at midnight and crushed the ute up against a conveyer belt.

“A number of workers were around,” a witness said.

“Another man was close to the collapse, but he managed to get away just in time.”

The witness said work ceased and a safety meeting was held.

A Ports Corporation spokesperson said the vehicle was in the vicinity of the stockpile during a changeover of dozer drivers.

“All operations at RG Tanna Coal terminal were suspended, and all the stockpiles in the immediate area were cordoned off so a full safety audit could be undertaken,” the spokesperson said. “Workplace Health and Safety was contacted at 2.20am, Monday.”

“The safety superintendent contacted (them) immediately after she was notified of the incident.

“GPC is now undertaking a root cause analysis of the incident to work out if there are any systemic problems that can be improved.

“A formal report was delivered to Workplace Health and Safety on Monday morning and senior Ports Corporation management attended the site on Monday morning and were given a full briefing.”

The spokesperson said work recommenced at the terminal at 4.30am, after the risk assessment had been completed.

The spokesperson said rain may have been a contributing factor in the stockpile collapse, therefore a number of measures have been put in place.

“Stockpiles of this particular type of coal have been reduced in size.

“This particular stockpile had been reduced from 50,000 tonnes to 35,000 tonnes.

“Exclusion zones around the stockpiles had been increased and all crew change-overs are to occur at a greater distance from the stockpiles.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice and Attorney-General for Workplace Health and Safety said the department was investigating the matter.

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