WA's mine safety boss has joined unions in criticising Fortescue Metals Group's safety standards after a second death in four months at one of its Pilbara iron ore mines, saying there were "cultural issues" at the Andrew Forrest-chaired company.
Yesterday, Department of Mines and Petroleum executive director of resources safety Simon Ridge ordered Fortescue to increase supervision and safety checks across its entire Pilbara operation after a 33-year-old contractor was killed in the heavy vehicle workshop at Fortescue's Christmas Creek mine, and a second man suffered serious leg injuries.
It was the second death at Christmas Creek in four months, after a young electrical worker was killed in August. In October, a contractor had his leg amputated after a truck accident at the site.
Mr Ridge said he met Fortescue chief executive Nev Power to issue the orders personally, saying it was the first time DMP had used its powers in such a broad manner. "We have identified some shortcomings in the cultural aspects (of safety) and in my discussions with the CEO Nev Power, he agreed there were cultural issues that needed addressing," he said. "Supervisors need to spend time supervising on the job, rather than shuffling paper and playing with computers in offices."
Fortescue said in a statement early yesterday it was co-operating with a DMP investigation into the death.
Mr Power said he was deeply saddened by the news, and counselling services had been made available to the dead man's workmates.
Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union State secretary Mick Buchan said union members had been raising serious safety concerns about Christmas Creek for months.
Mr Ridge said the DMP had also received complaints that Fortescue workers who raised safety concerns were victimised as a result.
He said the DMP was following up those complaints.