Photo of the work platform Independent Mining Services worker Daniel Springer was working on when he was removing extremely large wear plates from an RH340 bucket in August 2017 at Goonyella Riverside Mine.
Photo of the work platform Independent Mining Services worker Daniel Springer was working on when he was removing extremely large wear plates from an RH340 bucket in August 2017 at Goonyella Riverside Mine.

INQUEST: Origin of wear plates linked to CQ mine death

A FORMER BMA worker told an inquest the extremely large wear plate linked to the horrific death of a CQ mine contractor was placed on an excavator bucket through "miscommunication".

Ian Trowell denied that in 2014 he ordered the 2 by 3.4 metre curved external wear plates to be fitted to the RH340 bucket Daniel Springer had been working on when he was killed on August 5, 2017.

The 30 year old had been removing a damaged wear plate when a section, as a result of stored energy, sprang out about 650mm striking him in the head.

Daniel Springer with his son Wolf.
Daniel Springer with his son Wolf.

Mr Trowell, a former BMA fabrication maintenance planner, said he also must have "missed" specific mention of the larger plates in the work order, progress report and end report despite conceding he was the person responsible for checking that the work requested had been undertaken in the $160,000 job.

Mackay Coroners Court heard Mr Trowell had liaised with mining-service company ESCO to install the large wear plates on a different type of excavator bucket, an RH170, also used at BMA's Goonyella Riverside mine.

Mr Trowell told the court former ESCO estimator Martin Borowicz must have "assumed" their communication also referred to the RH340 bucket.

"I think there was a miscommunication, honestly," he said.

But Mr Borowicz said he had a conversation with Mr Trowell about installing the larger wear plates on both types of bucket and that the former BMA worker had been present while he scoped the RH340 bucket for the job.

Boilermaker Daniel Springer had been removing wear plates from this excavator bucket when he died. A section he had been removing sprang up, striking him in the head.
Boilermaker Daniel Springer had been removing wear plates from this excavator bucket when he died. A section he had been removing sprang up, striking him in the head.

Mr Trowell denied this occurred saying he was not allowed on site.

Mr Trowell told the court it was Mr Borowicz who suggested larger wear plates to replace the standard smaller horizontal strips because they cracked easily and damaged the buckets.

But Mr Borowicz claimed Mr Trowell recommended the larger plates after possibly seeing them used at different sites. "It was a directive from Ian to fit these plates," Mr Borowicz said.

When questioned over a scope of work, as well as progress reports, that specifically indicated that larger plates were being installed on the RH340 bucket, Mr Trowel said he did not pick that up.

"It didn't really register, it didn't stand out," he said.

The court heard an end report issued in late 2014 also included photographs of the RH340 bucket with the large wear plates, to which Mr Trowel said he "doesn't know if he examined the end report closely" as it was one of hundreds that crossed his desk.

The inquest continues.