web analytics

Daniel Rockhouse: “No one was there to meet them…”

Written By: - Date published: 10:19 am, January 1st, 2015 - 21 comments
Categories: health and safety, Mining, workers' rights - Tags:

A TS post with the title “No one was there to meet them – no one went to help them” was high on the list of one’s being viewed today.  It’s not a recent post.

It is a July 2013 post by Helen Kelly, about Daniel Rockhouse who survived the Pike River Mine disaster, and then rescued Russell Smith. Yesterday Daniel Rockhouse got a bravery award. TVNZ reported:

Pike River Mine survivor Daniel Rockhouse has been awarded The New Zealand Bravery Medal for rescuing another miner in the disaster.

Helen Kelly’s 2013 post is here and is an important reminder of the what happened at the mine. Her post begins:

I am doing a speech on health and safety tomorrow. Been thinking about Pike. Bernie Monk rang yesterday. Bridges is in Gisborne Herald today saying all the reports needed on Forestry have been written. In my speech tomorrow I Will read this bit out from the Inquiry into Pike – it is as powerful as story as there is against his complacency. It should be part of every school curriculum. Those that listened to the victim impact statements for Pike last week will have heard Daniel Rockhouse say sometimes he wished he had died in Pike River Mine (his loved brother Ben did!).

Daniel Rockhouse

36. Nearing 3.45pm Daniel Rockhouse was in the drift en route to stub 2 to uplift the gravel required for road repairs at the ABM worksite. He stopped at the diesel bay at the pit bottom in stone to fill his loader with diesel and water. The loader was parked with the engine running. While he was turning on a water valve there was a bright white flash and he felt an extreme pressure blast. Felled by the explosion, Daniel Rockhouse hit his head and ended up lying on his back. His first impression was that the loader had blown up, but he then realised that the engine was still running, although spluttering. He turned if off. Small amounts of debris fell from the roof and the ribs, although there was no cave-in. Within seconds a pungent strong smell, and dense smoke, reached the area. The atmosphere was warm and breathing became difficult.

Read the rest of the post at the link.

21 comments on “Daniel Rockhouse: “No one was there to meet them…” ”

  1. RedLogix 1

    Daniel Rockhouse doesn’t feel like one – but his actions in getting himself AND Smith out were heroic. It’s a remarkable story.

  2. Colonial Rawshark 2

    Too many Kiwis still turning up for a day at work, making money for someone else, and then dying/nearly dying for it. With no one being surprised that it happens. It’s a sickness in this society which needs to be changed.

    • Tracey 2.1

      yes. much being made of 26 drownings in 2014 but we still dont care enough about the deaths and maimings amongst those trying to get their daily bread.

      if news bulletins started including a list of every death and serious injury in a workplace every day…

  3. Gruntie 3

    All Work related deaths ought to be reported like the road toll – not just accidents but including deaths related to exposure to hazards such as asbestos – would be shocking to see it is I suspect higher than the road toll and just as preventable. NZ work related death rate is 4 times greater than in Uk

    • Olwyn 3.1

      All Work related deaths ought to be reported like the road toll.

      So they should, but there seems to be a tacit agreement not to look too closely at the threats to life and limb wherever the profit motive comes into things. It is OK to talk about threats that involve chiding the population and placing restrictions on them, but not about the threats that would mean protecting them from corporate exploitation. A kerfuffle last night in Gisborne has straightaway meant that there will be alcohol restrictions at next year’s festival. A disaster like Pike River evoked nothing like the same sense of legislative urgency – no statements like “This tragic loss of life means we must get the charge of corporate manslaughter into our law books at once.”

      Perhaps it would be a good idea to publish the numbers of work-related deaths through blogs, as it might then force the media to take notice.

    • McFlock 3.2

      That’s a fine idea.
      Probably find someone’s been plugging it for years, but employers and an employer-friendly government have been keeping a lid on it.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.2.1

        What’s employer-friendly about rewarding murderous cowboys? It just drives good business under.

        • McFlock

          Well, friendly for managers in a quartely-performance bonus cycle, anyway.
          Whittal’s predecessors did okay out of it, and he couldn’t pass the hot potato on quickly enough. I.e. he didn’t take the money and move on before people died.

  4. Weepus beard 4

    “No one was there to meet them.”

    One sentence says it all but I bet it didn’t register in the media’s important quotes of 2013.

    And still we are frog marched down the path of industry self-regulation by the current government.

  5. Murray Rawshark 5

    I’m still disgusted that the mine was operating like that. The fact that even after the explosion, phone calls were not logged and no one was at the exit to meet the two miners makes me feel crook. Industries that behave like this need to be regulated out of existence.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      In fairness, some of the most trenchant (and certainly some of the most authoritative) criticism comes from within the industry.

      • Murray Rawshark 5.1.1

        It is not a surprise that different companies within one area will take different approaches. Nor is it a surprise that, after an avoidable disaster, other companies will criticise what happened. It still happened, and in their industry that was supposedly self regulating. Where were there trenchant and authoritative criticisms before the fact?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          The Royal Commission of Inquiry established that PRC ignored safety warning from multiple industry sources including its own contractors and employees.

          So authoritative, yes. As for trenchant, does “I’m well aware of the pressure we’re under as a company but this should not be the pressure that possibly one day causes us a serious incident.” qualify, given that the “pressure” in question is to put coal production before safety?

  6. vto 6

    Pike River is the pig-ugly face of the men of business in New Zealand. They deserve no respect.

    Mean nasty greedy uncaring cheap and deadly.

    How on earth can it be that not a single person has stood up and taken responsibility for what is out and out human folly and error….

    Bill Birch for canning the mining inspectors and introducing self-regulation…
    John Dow and his band on the “Board” for running a deadly operation…
    Peter Whittal for managing a deadly operation…

    Each one of them is scum

  7. Jenny Kirk 7

    This is an important story and speech from Helen Kelly. If it wasn’t for The Standard highlighting it, how many of us would know the details of what was NOT available in that mine – when required for emergencies, So – thanks to both Helen Kelly and TS for reminding us, and for getting it out into the greater public arena.

    • mac1 7.1

      It certainly makes a case for worker involvement in safety decisions, for strong unions, and for effective oversight from outside. Some owners and managers cannot be trusted, as with some employees. Anyone with a sense of history or who reads socially aware authors like Steinbeck, or Jamie Lee Burke or James Elroy, should know that.

      The second lesson for all this is how we should all be angry about this story, and to allow that anger to fuel our need and work towards a society where all people are paramount in health, safety, and general issues of justice, to not accept what has happened as usual, to not be fatalistic but proactive and hopeful for change.

  8. Ian Grant 8

    Rebecca Macfie deserves credit too

    A must read for anyone interested in H&S and corporate greed in NZ

  9. Rosemary McDonald 9

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community benefits from Māori apprenticeships
    Up to 50 Māori apprentices in Wellington will receive paid training to build houses for their local communities, thanks to a $2.75 million investment from the Māori Trades and Training Fund, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Ngāti Toa Rangatira Incorporated to provide its Ngā Kaimahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Training fund supports Māori jobseekers
    Rapidly growing sectors will benefit from a $990,000 Māori Trades and Training Fund investment which will see Wellington jobseekers supported into work, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Sapphire Consultants Ltd. to help up to 45 Māori jobseekers into paid training initiatives over two years through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruakura Inland Port development vital infrastructure for Waikato
    The Government is investing $40 million to develop an inland port at Ruakura which will become a freight super-hub and a future business, research and residential development for the Waikato, Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The funding has been has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Appointments made to Defence Expert Review Group
    Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today the establishment of an Expert Review Group to review a number of aspects of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) structure, information management and record-keeping processes.  The Expert Review Group’s work arises out of the first recommendation from the Report of the Government’s Inquiry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • No active community cases of COVID-19
    There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clean energy upgrade for more public buildings
    More public buildings will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. Minister Shaw announced that Lincoln and Auckland universities will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to replace fossil fuel boilers. Southern, Taranaki, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Schools back donations scheme for the second year
    More schools have opted in to the donations scheme for 2021, compared to 2020 when the scheme was introduced. “The families of more than 447,000 students will be better off next year, with 94% of eligible schools and kura opting into the scheme,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruapehu cycle trails gets PGF boost
    The spectacular Mountains to Sea cycle trail in Ruapehu District will receive $4.6 million in funding from the Provincial Growth Fund for two additional trails, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This is an exciting development for the local community, and one that will provide significant economic opportunities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Update to air border order strengthens crew requirements
    Additional measures coming into effect on Monday will boost our defence against COVID-19 entering New Zealand through the air border, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “As part of our precautionary approach and strategy of constant review, we’re tightening the requirements around international aircrew,” Chris Hipkins said. The COVID-19 Public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • A true picture of Māori business activity
    A better picture of the contribution Māori businesses make to the economy will be possible with changes to the way information is collected about companies and trading enterprises. Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash have announced a new option for Māori enterprises who are part ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago