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Heat stress the cause of WA miner death, DMP says

The death of a WA miner last month has been linked to heat stress, according to a significant incident report released by the Department of Mines and Petroleum.

A 28-year-old jumbo offsider collapsed while working underground on night shift, and was taken to the surface. He initially received treatment from the mine medical staff and then from the Royal Flying Doctor Service, but passed away during the early hours of the next day.

The report stated the man was undertaking work in hot and humid conditions at the time of the collapse, and recommended actions be taken to prevent and manage heat stress.

The DMP recommended employers not expose workers to heat “so far as is practicable”, isolate sources of heat through shielding, containment and remote handling techniques, and provide adequate ventilation.

“…adopting safe work practices and appropriate administrative procedures such as job rotation, providing training to workers on measures to be taken to avoid any harmful effects from heat, and implementing appropriate workplace environmental controls and monitoring…,” the report said.

It also recommended mangers and supervisors ensure workers are trained to recognise heat stress, and workers should ensure they drink enough water.

The DMP investigation is ongoing.

The incident is believed to have occurred at Northern Star Resources’ Paulsens Gold Mine in mid-November.

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