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The EPMU is welcoming the Greymouth District Court’s decision to fine Solid Energy $71,000 plus $46,000 in reparations for safety failings that led to miner Paul Burton being seriously injured.
Paul Burton was working in Solid Energy’s Spring Creek mine in July last year when a slab of coal fell on him, paralysing his right side.
Mr Burton had to undergo major surgery to repair spinal cord damage, including having two plates inserted into his neck. He still suffers from some paralysis and is unlikely to ever work as a miner again.
EPMU organiser Garth Elliott says it is appropriate that Solid Energy has been fined for its serious safety failings.
“The injuries Paul has suffered as a result of Solid Energy’s failures have impacted his earnings for the rest of his working life. These reparations are welcome but they can never compensate Paul for what he has lost.
“Mines are hazardous places to work but there are steps that can be taken to minimise risks. This outcome shows the importance of stronger safety laws in our mines. We hope Solid Energy has learned from its failings and puts processes in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”