Inquest told gas drilling has gone back to 'dark old days'

AN EXPERIENCED drilling rig manager in charge on the day a young man was killed has told a coronial inquest into the man's death that although he was given the title of safety manager with a promotion he had not been told what it meant.

He said he received no formal training from his employer AJ Lucas in his new role or any details about what it entailed.

Lockyer Valley man Cameron Brandt Cole, 24, was killed on August 14, 2009, when a two-tonne pipe rack fell off the side of a semi-trailer at a Santos drilling site about 51km east of Injune.

He died more than three hours later while on the way to hospital.

Former AJ Lucas drill rig manager Justin Smith told the inquest on Tuesday that in his opinion the industry had not learnt from Mr Cole's death.

He said since Mr Cole's death the industry had adopted "fixed cost" rig moves.

"You basically now have 24 hours to move a drilling rig," he said.

"It is a time restraint that is very unrealistic.

"The industry has gone back to the dark old days and someone is going to get seriously hurt."

Mr Smith said he thought every day about what occurred on that fateful morning.

"Cameron was a very good friend of mine and I miss him terribly," he said.

"I am terribly sorry this happened."

Earlier, Mr Smith told the inquest he had never been shown a safety alert informing companies of a similar incident overseas to that which killed Mr Cole.

The safety alert was issued three years prior to Mr Cole's death.

The inquest before state Coroner Terry Ryan continues.

- APN NEWSDESK.



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