Shark Bay miner fined $20,000 over workplace injury

Headshot of Liam Beatty
Liam BeattyMidwest Times
L’Haridon Bight Mining supplies seashells from Shark Bay.
Camera IconL’Haridon Bight Mining supplies seashells from Shark Bay. Credit: Stephen Scourfield/The West Australian

Denham seashell supplier L’Haridon Bight Mining had been handed down a $20,000 fine over a workplace injury that left an employee with fractures, lacerations and burns.

The company was prosecuted by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety over the May 2017 incident which occurred at the company’s Shell Beach Mine in Shark Bay.

In Perth Magistrate’s Court on March 9, prosecutors detailed how the worker’s arm was pulled into a shell-bagging machine while he was assisting with repairs to the machine, resulting in serious injury.

The court was told the worker had not been provided with training on the safe isolation of machinery and it was not fitted with an emergency stop device.

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The Department’s director for mine safety, Andrew Chaplyn, said there was an increasing number of serious incidents involving conveyor belts where workers had not been properly trained.

“This incident serves as a reminder of the importance of conducting regular audits of conveyor systems to identify hazards and implement appropriate control measures,” he said.

“Employers have a duty of care not to expose employees to hazards. This is an ongoing obligation.”

L'Haridon Bight Mining harvests, sorts and grades seashells taken from the Shark Bay coastline and are most commonly used as a food substitute for the poultry industry.

A spokesman for the company told the Mid West Times, staff at the small-scale supplier were crushed to learn a colleague had been injured.

“Obviously we didn’t want anyone to get hurt,” he said. “But safety is everyone’s concern and we don’t really think we’re in the wrong.”

“We weren't able to afford to fight this charge, but we’ll learn from it.”

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