The worker died at the CQ mine site.
The worker died at the CQ mine site.

Safety alert issued after fatality at CQ mine site

AN INVESTIGATION into the death of an experienced 49-year-old coal mine worker at the Saraji coal mine west of Mackay has released initial findings.

While the cause of family man Allan Houston's death has not yet been determined, the Department of Natural Resources and Mines has released a "safety alert'' including a series of recommendations for mine operators to avoid similar incidents.


Allan Houston is being honoured by his friends and family who are devastated by his passing. Mr Houston was killed on New Year's Eve in a mining accident at Saraji Mine near Dysart.
Allan Houston. Trudy Guy

An initial Queensland Mines Inspectorate report revealed Mr Houston was fatally injured about 10.30pm on Monday, December 31 while operating a bulldozer at the open-cut coal mine near Dysart.

"The bulldozer was traversing - with the blade not in contact with the ground - along a bench in an area where three bulldozers were pushing overburden material," the report says.

"The bulldozer being operated by the deceased went over the bench's crest and rolled downwards approximately 20 metres.

"The reason for this is yet to be determined, but the bulldozer came to rest on its roof in an area of mud and water about two metres deep.

"Another bulldozer operator who witnessed the incident 'called in' the emergency immediately and an emergency response team attended the site.

"Queensland Police Service attended at the mine, later handing control of the scene to the Queensland Mines Inspectorate for further investigation."

The incident occurred while dragline bench preparations were being conducted and mines have been advised to consider the following recommendations for all dozer operations:

Mines should ensure that:

  • there is adequate edge protection to prevent equipment and persons from inadvertently going over the edge of an excavation
  • there is adequate protection to prevent equipment from entering bodies of fluid and where practicable remove the fluid before work begins
  • work methods used on benches achieve an acceptable level of risk
  • work methods contain a specific traffic management plan for entering and exiting work areas
  • if a machine is introduced to a site and has the capability to transmit function/operational data, the system should be enabled
  • if there is vehicle access into pits where machinery is working on benches above.

Investigations are ongoing.