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Phone found in injured driver's truck

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It is understood a mobile phone has been uncovered from the wreck of a haul truck involved in the accident on Fortescue Metals Group’s Christmas Creek site last month where a Macmahon contractor was seriously injured.

A number of sources close to the incident have told Australian Mining a phone was found in the cab of the haul truck.

In the accident the operator lost his leg after suffering serious leg and pelvis injuries when his vehicle ran into the back of another in the early hours of October 22.

Australian Mining contacted the WA Department of Mines and Petroleum for comment, however as an investigation into the incident is still underway the DMP was unable to provide further insight at this time.

The accident, which is the second serious incident in less than three months, has raised a number of questions about the operation of Fortescue’s Western Australia’s operation, including the difference between writing procedures for compliance and actually managing them for worker safety.

Australian Mining spoke to a former Macmahon manager who left his post at Christmas Creek over concerns safety issues were not being properly addressed.

Commenting on the issue of mobile phones on mine sites he said the devices have long been a “pet hate”.

“There are always incidents around mobile phone usage, it’s a huge distraction,” the source said.

He explained that according to Macmahon’s procedure mobile phones are allowed on site but must be left in the crib room.

“Now which person in their right mind thinks that an operator is going to leave his phone in a bag in a crib room from anybody to get to? They’re obviously going to take it with them and then it’s in a bag next to them, it’s a distraction, they’ll start using it,” the source said.

He added that while employed with the contractor he raised the issue with upper management in Macmahon, pleading the procedure be changed to ban mobile phones on site.

It was never implemented.

“If people are allowed a mobile phone at the gate they’ll have it with them onsite,” he said.

“When we allow people to be distracted we haven’t done our duty of care.”

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