Long-overdue report shows CS Energy dropped the ball on safety at Callide: MEU

Mining and Energy Union

A draft report released today into the May 2021 explosion that tore through Callide power station’s C4 Unit exposes a culture of poor risk management by operator CS Energy, the Mining and Energy Union said today.

MEU Queensland President Mitch Hughes said Callide workers deserved an explanation of what had gone wrong as they worked towards returning the damaged unit to service next month, but the report’s publication was long-overdue.

“Publication of this report at last provides some transparency and insight into what has occurred, and we look forward to reviewing it in detail,” said Mr Hughes.

“It illustrates how extreme the explosion was, with a 300kg piece of equipment ejected 20 metres into the air and a 2-tonne piece of shaft flying across the floor.

“It is a miracle no-one was killed. Workers need transparency and reassurance that it won’t happen again.”

The report finds that a series of technical failures around a battery charger change-out triggered the explosion. It identifies that there was a lack of risk management process and understanding by CS Energy of risks associated with the operation.

The report further identifies a number of contextual factors including energy transition meaning the attention and resources of the power station operator were directed towards transition projects, distracting from the core business of the safe operation of power stations.

“At its heart, this report shows that CS Energy has dropped the ball on risk management in a major way,” said Mr Hughes.

“We will be working with our members to ensure that their concerns are fully addressed and they are able to have open discussions with their employer about risk management going forward.

“The Government must also guarantee that all of Queensland’s coal-fired power stations have the resources and support they need to operate safely through to closure.

“As long as coal-fired power stations are operating, there can be no scrimping and saving and running them into the ground.”

/Public Release.