BHP driver sacked after Pilbara train derailment claims unfair dismissal
BHP has sacked the driver of a train which was deliberately derailed in Western Australia’s remote Pilbara region last November, carrying 30,000 tonnes of iron ore.
The fully-laden train, pulling 268 carriages, was deliberately derailed in the early morning of November 5, about 120 kilometres south of Port Hedland.
While the driver was out of the cabin, the train took off, travelling more than 90 kilometres.
The driver was notified of his dismissal in the week before Christmas.
It is understood the man has lodged an unfair dismissal claim.
BHP iron ore president Edgar Basto said in November initial findings had shown the train had stopped automatically after a braking system control cable became disconnected.
The driver was then asked to carry out an inspection, and the train started to move.
“Our initial findings show that the emergency brake for the entire train was not engaged as required by the relevant operating procedures,” Mr Basto said at the time.
“The electric braking system that initially stopped the train automatically released after an hour while the driver was still outside.
“Due to integration failure of the backup braking system, it was not able to deploy successfully.”
The train travelled more than 90 kilometres and before being derailed from BHP’s Integrated Remote Operations Centre in Perth, about 1,500km away.
Mobile phone footage obtained by the ABC showed the twisted and mangled wreckage of the train lying strewn alongside the track.
Investigations by the ATSB and the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator are continuing.