SAD LOSS: Electrician Paul McGuire.
SAD LOSS: Electrician Paul McGuire.

Manager shares communication concerns before mine death

AN ANGLO worker has raised concerns about communication breakdowns between mine deputies at a Central Queensland mine where a father of two died on the job.

Anglo Coal underground mine manager Daniel Proffitt said in April 2014 he sent his workers a letter highlighting issues he believed had been occurring at Grasstree mine.

Paul McGuire, 34, had been calibrating gas sensors when he inhaled toxic air after he was allegedly wrongly directed to a goaf in Grasstree mine on May 6, 2014.

Mr Proffitt told Mackay Coroners Court his letter raised concerns over various incidents including "people interfering with VCDs (ventilation control devices) without permission, flame paths not being checked adequately and information not being passed onto others, deputies not countersigning reports as per … obligations".

"The information either wasn't passed on clearly or wasn't received clearly, so there was no effective communications in the time frame," he said.

"I wasn't aware of a massive issue within the culture of the mines, however … it could be improved.

"There were various incidents in the past and this was for me to get on top of it and say 'hey boys, I don't want to see us slipping down a path. I want to get everyone's minds focused back on where we are and where we need to be and move forward'."

Commissioner for Mines and Safety Kate du Preez was questioned about her involvement in the prosecution that occurred following Mr McGuire's tragic death as part of the coronial inquest.

"Every charge has to be looked at independently according to external advice and prosecution policy," Ms du Preez said.

Coroner David O'Connell asked whether a specialist prosecutor should take over mine death incidents, but Ms du Preez said she could not comment because "that currently... is an act in the form of a bill in front of parliament".

Anglo coal clearance co-ordinator and mechanic Ken McCafferney was the last person to see Mr McGuire alive and said the pair had a brief interaction.

Mr McCafferney had previously stated that Mr McGuire told him he had just come from 902 and asked him if he needed a hand with his work.

Mr McCafferney told him that he didn't require any assistance, and that he "had that covered".

Mr McGuire then responded, saying he would be on the DAC (an underground intercom system) if he needed him.

CFMMEU Industry Safety and Health Representative Jason Hill said he had prepared a report on the incident, which he then sent to the Commissioner at the time, Paul Harrison, as well as the Chief Inspector Russell Aubrey.

Mr Hill said that in his investigations, during which he did most of the work alongside his counterpart Steve Woods who assisted "from time to time", he reported Mr McGuire was found sitting down on the floor, with his right leg through the goaf, "keeping the door ajar".

"People liked him, he was good worker, he was studying to do his deputy certificate and he was a good miner," Mr Hill said.