Fortescue Metals Group boss Nev Power has hit back at contractors, unions and other mining companies for falsely claiming a Cloudbreak miner sustained a workplace injury before he died last week.
Mr Power, the company's chief executive, said the Pilbara was awash with false rumours that a rigging supervisor who died last week had cut his leg at the North West mine.
Unions threatened industrial action following a stopwork meeting over the death, and some contractors put out safety alerts about workplace injuries.
Mr Power said a misinformed flyer had been circulated by several contractors and mining companies. The flyer failed to mention the rigger died because of a medical pre-disposition that led to an adverse reaction to a common bacteria called staphylococcus.
"I can absolutely confirm there was no workplace incident or injury that caused it or triggered it," Mr Power said. "Unfortunately there have been a number of contracting companies, a number of them not even working for us, that have seen fit to put out a safety notice claiming this was a workplace injury."
The man fell ill at the Cloud- break site and was taken to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital by the Royal Flying Doctor Service. He died at the hospital last Wednesday.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union late last week demanded that the Health Department conduct a full safety audit on the site to ensure other workers were not at any risk. Secretary Steve McCartney would not rule out industrial action.
But the Health Department said an audit was unnecessary because there was no risk to other workers on the site.
The name of the late worker has not been released. The death is subject to a coronial inquest.