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Sacked Pilbara train driver to fight dismissal



A lawyer representing the BHP train driver fired at the center of November's derailment train has described his client's dismissal as a classic case of an employer blaming the worker, not the system.

The attorney of Perth Tim Kucera is representing the 63-year-old former BHP worker fired last month after an internal investigation of his actions on the day of the accident.

It was revealed on 5 November that the fully faired 268 wagonship train was driven without driver for 50 minutes at an average speed of 110 km / h before it was deliberately derailed about 120 km south of Port Hedland.

BHP subsequently issued a statement that attributed the incident to a combination of mechanical failure and human error.

Understanding the South An Australian employee was ordered by the remote operating center of BHP to bring down the locomotive and manually apply the brakes to the train after the braking system control cable has been disconnected.

  The driver of the 268-iron ore train was looted as a result of the November derailment.
Camera Icon The driver of the 268-iron ore train was looted following the derailment of November. Photo: Synarah Murphy.

However, the first BHP findings on the accident show that it failed to engage the train's air brake, which the mining giant considers as a standard operating procedure and the train began to move after the electric brakes they disengaged an hour later while he was out of the cabin.

Kucera said it's not fair that the driver gets fired when there were many other variables involved.

"If you have a right security culture, the starting point is to look at the whole system and that's what we're saying," he said.

"It is a classic case of: you have an accident, you blame the worker, not the system.

" It is all the culture of the scapegoat … and this is not consistent with the principles of a just safety culture.

"What you want to do is find out what went wrong and make sure it never happens again."

Mr Kucera said that there were many alternatives to dismissal the worker, especially someone who had experience, regretted the accident and had remorse.

He said that BHP was actually washing the hands of the accident so that he could tell the public and regulators that he had faced the problem.

Kucera said that the driver, who he described as a family man, wants and is reinstated by BHP, emphasizing that it would be very difficult to find alternative employment in the railway sector given the profile attached to the accident.

"It's a huge amount of responsibility to attribute to a person, saying it's a worker error and we'll blame this person for the accident," he said.

Mr. Kucera also asked himself whether he was sure that the worker was ordered out of the locomotive, since he was in the middle of nowhere and alone.

The unjust dismissal request will go to an informal, confidential conciliation process, but it could go into arbitration in the Industrial Relations Commission if it is not resolved.

BHP declined to comment.


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