Father killed in mine gas trap left a family behind. SAD LOSS: Electrician Paul McGuire.
Father killed in mine gas trap left a family behind. SAD LOSS: Electrician Paul McGuire.

Mine worker not warned of lethal goaf danger

ONLY red and white tape gave any indication of a lethal danger behind the hatch Paul McGuire popped open with a spanner.

Within minutes he was dead after being sent to the wrong site for a job.

The 34 year old opened a mine goaf and was engulfed by lethal methane air.

Mackay Coroners Court heard there were no warning signs and the hatch had only been secured with a nut and bolt to prevent access.

READ MORE: Mine deaths might become 'cost of doing business'

"The practise which was in place at Anglo on that date with respect to the sealing of this goaf at that time is entirely inadequate," Counsel Assisting the Coroner John Aberdeen said during a pre-inquest conference.

Mr McGuire's body was found on May 6, 2014 in Grasstree mine by two co-workers, who will be called to give evidence about their movements in a coronial probe.

The court heard Mr McGuire opened the hatch about 1.15pm and two minutes later a "high high methane" alert was registered in the mine's control room.

But his body was not found until 2.50pm. Mr Aberdeen said the time lapse needed to be explored.

Anglo American barrister Dr Kerrie Mellifont said Mr McGuire's death had been the first in 130 years in Queensland mining under these particular circumstances.

"It's not like some cases which come before the coroners court where there's more than one death … because of a particular issue," Dr Mellifont said.

"Do I need multiple deaths before I make a recommendation? ... I thought one was enough," Coroner David O'Connell said.

Mr Mellifont said it was an "isolated incident" met immediately with a mine safety alert with recommendations industry-wide for each coal mine to conduct a hazard audit for dangerous areas.


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