The workplace incident at Collie’s Griffin Coal mine that resulted in the death of a man in his 40s has been labelled a ‘tragic accident’.
Senior Sergeant Heath Soutar said police had been called to the mine in the early hours of the morning and would continue to investigate how the accident occurred.
“It appears to be a tragic accident,” he said.
“We’re investigating along with the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety into how and why the accident occurred and how we can stop it from happening again.
“The impact this will have on Collie will be significant.”
The incident occurred around 11pm on Thursday night when police were called out to the accident.
The man was taken to Collie Hospital where he was declared deceased.
Griffin Coal have confirmed the fatality in a statement and said investigations into how the accident occurred are ongoing.
The statement also said the company’s focus is ‘to provide support to the family, friends and co-workers of the deceased’.
Griffin Coal is also offering counselling to any employees who require those services.
Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety mines safety director Andrew Chaplyn said mine safety inspectors from the department’s Collie office attended the scene of the accident early this morning.
He also said two investigation inspectors from Perth will join them today.
A report will be also prepared for the Coroner.
Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray said the town was already feeling the effects of the accident.
“Any accident in any industry is always a traumatic thing for families and fellow workers but in this case, in a small community, it seems to double up to some degree,” he said.
“The coal mining industry itself is a big family.
“Everyone knows someone in this town and being a local bloke, it certainly has rocked the town to say the least.
“Condolences certainly do go out to the whole family and the workforce as well.
“There will be an inquiry. We don’t know exactly what happened but I can tell you that some of the people on the job are very distressed.
“Coal mining accidents have been infrequent … but one like this, the inquiry has to go right through to make sure it doesn’t happen again for another 50 or 100 years.
“People should be able to go to work and come home safe to their families.”
Mr Murray also said WA Premier Mark McGowan had offered his condolences and assistance.
“The Premier has sent his condolences down through me … and he’s also offered his assistance,” he said.
“It’s not just a Collie issue, it’s a state issue and we’ll be dealing with it on that basis.”