Workers furious at failure to prosecute over Grosvenor blast

Published: 22 Feb 2022

Mineworkers are angry and dismayed at the decision by Queensland’s Workplace Health and Safety Prosecutor to lay no charges over the May 2020 Grosvenor underground mine explosion that left five workers seriously injured and many more traumatised. 

Mining and Energy Union Queensland President Stephen Smyth said the findings of the Queensland Coal Mining Board of Inquiry were damning of the mine’s management and repercussions should follow. 

“I am personally devastated at this decision, having worked very closely with the Grosvenor miners as they have recovered from the explosion and dealt with the fallout,” said Mr Smyth. 

“I know that workers across our industry, especially those at Grosvenor mine who have just this week restarted longwall production, are angry. 

“In an environment where our members get sacked for minor policy breaches, it’s deeply unfair that a management team that oversaw a mine blowing up should face no consequences whatsoever. 

“The Board of Inquiry report outlined the mine’s repeated failure to drain dangerous gases in pace with production. Risk assessments required to control spontaneous combustion in LW 104 was not undertaken and mining should not have occurred; workers were put at  unacceptable risk in LW 104 for months prior to the explosion which in turn which put all mineworkers at risk.   

“The report painted a picture of an accident waiting to happen. It was a foreseeable event and no action was taken to protect the miners at Grosvenor. 

“Mineworkers put their lives on the line every day and they deserve to know that the people responsible for their safety will be held accountable for meeting their obligations. 

“We have workplace health and safety laws that provide for prosecution where negligence leads to serious injury or death. 

“These laws are of no use if the government is too scared to use them against mining companies.  

“In the strongest possible terms, we urge the Office of the Workplace Health and Safety Prosecutor to review this decision.”