A mining company operating in the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia has been fined $105,000 and ordered to pay $6,255 in costs after a woman suffered serious injuries to several parts of her body during an attack by dingoes.
Newcrest Mining Limited was fined during an appearance in the Perth Magistrates’ Court today (Thursday)
The incident happened in July 2018 at the Telfer Mine, located within the Great Sandy Desert. The worker was a contractor on site as part of a maintenance shut down.
According to the WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, in the lead-up to the incident the employee was eating a sandwich in an outside barbeque area at the mine site.
Young dingo jumped on a table
She observed a young dingo jump on a table, before waving it down. The dingo moved and sat nearby on a grassed area.
The employee took a photograph of a dingo before feeling another sniff her body. She told it to go away, but it did not move.
After the arrival of a third dingo, the woman decided to place what was left of her sandwich in a bin, leaving her mobile phone on the table with napkin on top of it.
The employee then noticed the young dingo had her phone, before it dropped it near a hedge. When she stepped forward to pick the phone up, the two other dingoes attacked her.
Other employees heard her screams and came to assist. The woman was treated at the site’s medical centre and transferred to Port Hedland Hospital by the Royal Flying Doctor Service and then to Royal Perth Hospital.
Suffered post-traumatic stress
She was was treated for lacerations and wounds to multiple parts of her body, and was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Acting Director of Mines Safety, Sally North, acknowledged the staff member’s colleagues, hospital staff and the Royal Flying Doctor Service for assisting the woman after the attack.
“Employers must ensure their staff members are not only safe in their work roles, but in the accommodation associated with mining operations,” she said. “There have been several incidents recorded at Telfer, including four others where staff members were bitten.”
Actions Newcrest Mining has taken since the incident include building appropriate fencing and the isolating and securing of rubbish bins. It has also implemented education sessions and reinforced to staff members what to do if a dingo approaches.