Kiwi killed in mining accident

A New Zealand man has been killed while working in a Western Australia mine.
Kurt Williams, 26, an electrician from Auckland who began working in the mine about 18 months ago, was crushed while carrying out maintenance work on a motor in the crushing plant of Fortescue Metals Group's Christmas Creek operation in Western Australia's Pilbara region.

Mr Williams was employed by Fortescue's contractor Crushing Services International (CSI).

Electrical Trades Union WA secretary Les McLaughlan said the union had previously raised general concerns about CSI's safety practices and specific concerns about the kind of work Mr Williams was undertaking.

"This man's death is a tragedy and we believe it may have been prevented if CSI had listened to our concerns about its safety practices,'' he said.

"Working on live equipment is inherently dangerous.

"What we need to know is whether the company took any extra safety precautions after we raised these concerns.''

The incident also highlighted the danger of people working alone at night, Mr McLaughlan said.

WA Resources Minister Gary Gray said the death was sad and unfortunate.

"We went nearly two years without a mine site death - the longest period in the mining history of Western Australia,'' he told a mining conference in Perth.

"Our industry will feel grief and sadness for the family.''

Fortescue has offered chaplaincy and counselling services for Mr William's family and his colleagues.

The company's operations director David Woodall said staff were deeply saddened by the incident.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the worker's loved ones at this time,'' Mr Woodall said in a statement.

Mining and processing at Christmas Creek was suspended overnight.

The last WA mine fatality occurred on August 16, 2011 when Brent David Glew was killed while doing maintenance on a hydraulic cylinder on a front-end loader at Rio Tinto's Brockman 2 site near Tom Price.

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