Alert issued before gas worker death

THE lead inspector investigating the death of a gas worker has revealed an industry-wide safety alert had been issued informing companies of a similar incident overseas three years prior.

He said the alert system had been established so mining companies could update their own safety protocols to ensure a similar incident did not occur at one of their sites.

Lockyer Valley man Cameron Brandt Cole, 24, was killed on August 14, 2009, when a two-tonne pipe rack fell off the side of a semi-trailer at a drilling site about 51km east of Injune.

He died more than three hours later while on the way to hospital.

State Coroner John Lock has been tasked with investigating the circumstances surrounding Mr Cole's death and whether there were sufficient safety measures and procedures in place that could have prevented his death.

His recommendations, if any, could have far-reaching effects across the entire gas and resources sector.

Department of Resources and Mines regional petroleum and gas inspector John Wright was scathing in his assessment of safety systems in place at the site.

He told the inquest on Monday that senior management of drilling company AJ Lucas and oil and gas exploration company Santos along with the Queensland Ambulance Service refused to take part in any aspect of his investigation.

"There is no evidence to suggest a risk assessment was done when the drilling rig was moved to the new site of the morning of Cameron Cole's death," he said.

"There was no safe work instruction manual either.

"Of course I would expect this document to exist and its contents to be implemented.

"It provides a step-by-step instruction on how to safely engage in a particular job site activity."

Mr Wright said a critical piece of equipment generally used to hold pipe racks in place while they are on the back of a semi-trailer was also missing.

He said stanchions were in place on the left-hand side, but not the right-hand side where the equipment fell from, because the pipe rack was too big for the semi-trailer.

Earlier the inquest heard from the first police officer to arrive at the Fairview #272 site after learning there had been an accident.

Sergeant Warren Carpenter told the inquest he had no trouble finding the site because he was familiar with the area, but conceded others who did not know the area as well may have had difficulties doing so.

He said there were about 1000 gas sites on various properties across the region all marked with similar signage.

"From memory the sign was not that big . . . maybe 10 x 20cm in size," he said.

"It was fixed to a pole near the entry to the site . . . not too far off the road."

The inquest continues today and is expected to last a week.



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