A 33-year-old worker died in an incident at a mine in central Queensland, Australia, police said.

The incident occurred at the Curragh coal mine, 30 kilometers north of Blackwater, at 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Queensland Ambulance Service said it responded to reports that a patient had become trapped in machinery. Mining company Thiess, which has operated the mine site since 2004, was not immediately available for comment.

The death is the eighth fatality the state’s mining industry has seen in the past two years. Five Queensland mine workers died at work during 2019. Construction Forestry Mining & Energy Union (CFMEU) district president Steve Smyth said he understood the man had been working as a Thiess contractor.

He said the past two years had been the worst period for mining safety in recent history.

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“Since about 1994 to be honest, this is the worst, statistically and unfortunately fatality-wise, this is the worst time we’ve seen,” he said. “I’m really at a loss. Something’s got to occur, we had a safety reset last year. We said one reset wasn’t going to fix it, but there’s certainly going to be a deep dive into why this is happening. We’ve got to stop this spate of fatalities. We’ve got to take more firm action. If that means walking off the job we’ve got to do it.”

The mine is owned by Coronado Coal LLC, a privately held company Energy and Minerals Group (EMG), based in Texas, USA.

Acting Mines Minister Mark Ryan said inspectors were on-site investigating the accident.

“My thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of the mine worker,” he said.

“I do not want to make any comment about this particular incident, both out of respect for everyone affected, and in light of the independent investigation,” Ryan said. “Any death in our resources workplaces is unacceptable, and this government is committed to working with employers, unions and peak bodies to continue to improve protections for our workers.

“We will introduce legislation this year to make industrial manslaughter an offence, as it is in other Queensland workplaces, and we have legislation before the Parliament to establish an independent resources health and safety authority,” Ryan said.

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