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Coroner’s report into death of a 9 year old
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Coroner’s report into death of a 9 year old

— filed under:
3 September 2014 - Safety Alert



A Coroner’s report into the death of a 9 year old on an access track within an alluvial gold mining site on the West Coast was released this week. A vehicle containing the child rolled into a pond when the driver lost control. WorkSafe endorses the four comments made by the Coroner and advises operators to review their safety preparedness in light of them.


Coroner’s points

  1. The death highlights the importance of compliance with the principles in the Health and Safety in Employment Act (HSE Act) and the relevant codes of practice for surface mining in quarrying industries.
  2. Perimeter bunding [of ponds] or windrow is accepted practice and “is likely to have prevented the vehicle leaving the access track”.
  3. The circumstances highlight the issue of children on site.
  4. The circumstances also highlight inadequate lighting.


WorkSafe NZ Advice

WorkSafe reiterates that all industries are bound by the HSE Act and employers and employees have duties to protect their workers, themselves and others while at work.

Windrows of sufficient height and depth are to be in place in the working area to prevent mobile plant using that roadway from leaving the roadway. , The height of the windrow should be at least half the diameter of the wheel of the largest vehicle used on the site, and the width should be twice the wheel height. 1.5 metres is a suggested minimum height for a windrow.

WorkSafe strongly advises against allowing children on worksites outside of organised and escorted educational visits. All operators should have a clear policy on this issue and reiterate it to staff and contractors.

WorkSafe advises operators to review lighting for safety levels. In this case the only lighting was from the vehicle’s own headlights.



WorkSafe provides guidance on these matters in:

  • The Health and Safety in Employment (Mining Operations and Quarrying Operations) Regulations 2013 which require a principal hazard management plan for roads and other vehicle operating areas. Windrows must be included in the plan. Although alluvial mines are not subject to these regulations, they should be used as best practice guidance. Minex provides guidance on these matters.


Tony Forster
Chief Inspector, Extractives