Appalling

February 15th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Deidre Mussen at The Press reports:

’s mine manager job-hunted in the minutes after its fatal November 2010 explosion despite knowing power and communications had been lost, the inquiry into the deaths of 29 men has heard.

His revelation prompted one of the dead men’s mothers to call out: “This is while my boy was dying, Jesus Christ,” before she fled in tears from the royal commission into the tragedy.

Former general manager Doug White began giving evidence in Greymouth District Court yesterday, his second time in the inquiry’s witness stand.

Commission lawyer Simon Mount said White emailed two people at 4.02pm and 4.03pm on November 19, 2010, less than 15 minutes after being told communication and power had been lost to the underground West Coast mine. It exploded at 3.45pm that day.

He was the mine general manager and he had been told the mine had lost power and communications, and he carried on with his e-mail!

I would have thought the general manager would immediately drop everything else, and personally co-ordinate the efforts to establish what has happened in the mine. A loss of power and communications is no minor incident.

Tags:

18 Responses to “Appalling”

  1. immigant (950 comments) says:

    Wow…. and this guy gets paid to be a leader.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Griff (6,996 comments) says:

    Is he Italian?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. insider (1,030 comments) says:

    Had power and communication with the mine been lost before? It was a mine with ongoing performance and maintenance issues up a long valley in the middle of nowhere. Communications and power may not have been that robust. Looking back with 20-20 hindsight it may look appalling, in context it may have been, ‘oh no, not again’.

    I don’t believe for an instant that he had any thought that a fatal explosion had occurred.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. jims_whare (399 comments) says:

    I think DPF if he was a suitable general manager the explosion would have not happened in the first place as he would have had his fingers on the pulse of what was happening in the general day to day running of the mine.

    I would say he was probably a General Paper shuffler who preferred paper work to hands on management.

    Its pretty low by anyone’s standards really

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Viking2 (11,280 comments) says:

    Companies have systems. The GM can’t do everything, well not in a company like that. Panic merchants are dangerous as well.
    FFS Kiwi’s need to get a hard on and stop whinging about everyone else except themselves..

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. RRM (9,665 comments) says:

    “To the best of my knowledge, all systems in the mine met or were organised in such a way as to exceed New Zealand legislative requirements and complied with recognised standards,” White said.

    Sounds like a typical New Zealand management boffin. “As far as I was aware… …all systems were in place… …had no reason to believe otherwise… …within reasonable grounds…” No responsibility, no sense of duty outside of very specific, comfortable boundaries; boundaries that are no doubt backed up by the letter of the law and the letter of the owners’ insurance policy.

    I don’t think he’s the villain in this piece, but he’s one of the men I would have hoped to see some heroism from.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. grumpyoldhori (2,416 comments) says:

    Viking2 true,true, it was only union members doing the dying not important management or shareholder types.

    So you in favour of leaving the bodies in the mine ?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. wreck1080 (3,809 comments) says:

    “A loss of power and communications is no minor incident.”

    Maybe it was normal part of a day at Pike?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. moaningmoa (68 comments) says:

    Mind blowing….

    Loss of power and communications in an unsafe environment like a mine, is most certainly not a ‘minor’ issue, and you would expect most levels of management would expect to take a hands on approach.

    Not only due to “Safety” but also potential loss in revenue and profit.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. lastmanstanding (1,241 comments) says:

    Lets get the guy into Parliament quick. It would sure raise the moral and ethical standards.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Spam (597 comments) says:

    It depends on the management structures in place. We have a robust emergency response management team in place, and they deal with such issues, because they have the training, experience and expertise to deal with emergency management, and the technical knowledge to assess and evaluate the actual event and the potential escalation. The GM will normally only get informed if it is serious or there is an escalation.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. alliejack (1 comment) says:

    So glad to see people know all about what happened at Pike River and can share so much input. You guys should be running the royal commission and making determinations!!

    If you had bother to check you facts you would know that Pike River experiences power outages due to its remote location on a regular basis and that there was nothing to indicate that there was a major incident, this was only know after Daniel Rockhouse came out of the mine which was after these emails were sent.

    Put yourself into that position, knowing that power & communication failures do happen and you had no reason to believe a major incident would happen what would you do??? Be sitting in the control room onto of the control room operator who was doing his job?? Runing up & down the pit top looking for signs of a major disaster?? Or contine as you normally would until you know something is seriously wrong??

    I know Doug White personally and I can say without hesitation if he knew that there was an explosion in that mine at 4pm then he would never have sent those emails, he would have been doing all he could to help those men. I trust that man with my life and I go underground with him, that trust should speak volumes as I have 3 young kids I want to go home to each night and I know Doug White will never do anything to jeopardise that.

    Before Pike River Doug White never had a major accident or injury to any man that worked in his mines, doesn’t that speak volumes??

    Maybe you people should do us a favour & get your facts correct before you make comments that are unfounded.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing and so is the ability of faceless people to sit on a computer and make comments about a man who they have no facts on and feed off the sensational news headline.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. plebe (271 comments) says:

    Viking2 (6,137) Says:

    February 15th, 2012 at 12:25 pm
    Companies have systems. The GM can’t do everything, well not in a company like that. Panic merchants are dangerous as well.
    FFS Kiwi’s need to get a hard on and stop whinging about everyone else except themselves.
    .
    Viking2 you are judged by the crap that you support, and this manageris CRAP and is the style of leader that NATIONAL and John Key LOVES.Every thing is for sale nowdays including WORKERS LIFES,the manager is a piece of garbage.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Paulus (2,565 comments) says:

    Am I the only one tired of seeing “the spokesman for the Miner’s families” our Bernie Monk, every night on television.
    The media makes him out to be a real leader because he is the only one they know, and it makes a story.
    I understand from Greymoutn that he is not the spokesman for all the families – his own and about 12 others only.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Viking2 (11,280 comments) says:

    grumpyoldhori (2,108) Says:
    February 15th, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Viking2 true,true, it was only union members doing the dying not important management or shareholder types.

    So you in favour of leaving the bodies in the mine ?
    plebe (206) Says:
    February 15th, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Viking2 (6,137) Says:

    February 15th, 2012 at 12:25 pm
    Companies have systems. The GM can’t do everything, well not in a company like that. Panic merchants are dangerous as well.
    FFS Kiwi’s need to get a hard on and stop whinging about everyone else except themselves.
    .
    Viking2 you are judged by the crap that you support, and this manageris CRAP and is the style of leader that NATIONAL and John Key LOVES.Every thing is for sale nowdays including WORKERS LIFES,the manager is a piece of garbage.

    The man was CEO not mine manager. He wasn’t the maintainance person.
    Fuckwits like you two should a. learn to read
    b. get a more informed opinion before you break wind and stink this blog with your crap.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Viking2 (11,280 comments) says:

    Paulus (656) Says:
    February 15th, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Am I the only one tired of seeing “the spokesman for the Miner’s families” our Bernie Monk, every night on television.

    don’t bother with the TV news much but every now and then I hear this fellow on their. He doesn’t speak for them all and he is boring to listen too.

    As for the bodies grumpy.
    I have no idea. I can’t judge wether its possible to recover them even if they still exist. Can you ?

    Of course you can you are such a clever bastard.

    If its to be it will, if its not they won’t.

    Plenty of bodies around the world in sunken shiops and the like.
    Bodies don’t last long in a crematorium (which the mine became.)

    So give us the benefit of your infinite wisdom in these matters grumpy.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Longknives (4,686 comments) says:

    I don’t mean to be disrespectful- but weren’t the bodies pretty much incinerated almost immediately? The heat in there was reportedly hotter than a Crematorium…so why is Grumpyoldhori rambling on about retrieving bodies??

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Steve (4,522 comments) says:

    I remember two leaders resigning imediately when they found out the current job was history.
    They were quite appalling as well, but they both do similar things and will drop the hot potatoe again if they have to.

    There is nothing more going on with Pike River than there is in any other Company, the non productive always seek ways to jump ship if required

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.