Wongawilli mine worker's death ‘not workplace related’: report

The death of a worker at Wongawilli Colliery last year has been ruled "not workplace related" by the state's regulator.

In a new investigation report, released last week, the NSW Resources Regulator ruled the Wollongong Coal-owned mine was not at fault for a 48-year-old man's death.

On June 1, the worker - who the Mercury understand's was the company’s group environmental manager – was working with contractors from DeltaSBD Limited, which was operating the mine.

They were conducting soil sampling and clean-up works around the disused Wongawilli No.1 ventilation shaft as part of the rehabilitation of the mine surface infrastructure.

The worker told contractors he felt unwell and left the work site alone in a light vehicle to seek medical attention, the regulator's report said.

He was later found by the contractors lying on the ground near the light vehicle on the access road about 1.5 kilometres from the ventilation shaft.

The NSW Ambulance Service, as well as police, responded to the emergency call and determined that the worker had died.​ The regulator then began in investigation into whether the man's death had been "mining related”.  

“The NSW Resources Regulator has conducted a detailed investigation into the circumstances of the worker’s death,” the report, from the Acting Director of Major Investigations, Steve Orr said.

“The regulator does not consider the worker’s death to be workplace-related.

"The NSW Coroner has dispensed with holding an inquest.”

In an earlier report regarding the death, the regulator reminded mine operators that unwell workers “should not leave the work area unaccompanied".

"If a decision has been made to seek medical assistance in preference to waiting for emergency response, the worker should be accompanied by persons who hold first aid certification," the report said.