Memo­rial

Town em­braces Buz­zard trib­ute

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Ali­cia Per­era

The fam­ily of a man killed in a min­ing ac­ci­dent near Parabur­doo have set up a foun­da­tion to pro­mote work­place safety and sup­port fam­i­lies in the af­ter­math of site in­ci­dents on the first an­niver­sary of his death.

Thirty-two-year-old Lee Buz­zard was a diesel fit­ter at Rio Tinto’s Chan­nar Mine, east of Parabur­doo, when he was killed in a work­place in­ci­dent on June 20, 2016.

Last Mon­day, mem­bers of his fam­ily vis­ited the site for a memo­rial ser­vice, dur­ing which one minute of si­lence was ob­served across all Rio Tinto iron ore op­er­a­tions, and to an­nounce a foun­da­tion they have cre­ated in his name.

The newly es­tab­lished Lee Buz­zard Foun­da­tion will have three main roles — sup­port­ing af­fected fam­i­lies emo­tion­ally, fi­nan­cially and with in­for­ma­tion; ed­u­cat­ing peo­ple on work­place safety; and ad­vo­cat­ing for vic­tims and fam­i­lies. Mr Buz­zard’s mother Sharon Wester­man said she set up the foun­da­tion to help other fam­i­lies af­fected by work­place tragedies.

She said it was some­thing her son would have wanted.

“It’s in­spired by Lee him­self, the per­son he was,” she said.

“He would have wanted us to do some­thing good.”

Ms Wester­man said she had big plans for the char­ity, in­clud­ing es­tab­lish­ing a Pil­bara min­ers’ memo­rial site, sim­i­lar to that in Kal­go­or­lie-Boul­der, and start­ing an an­nual fun day for all fam­i­lies af­fected by work­place in­ci­dents.

“I’m hop­ing to re­ally do some­thing spe­cial be­cause there’s a bit of a gap in what is out there for peo­ple,” she said.

Mr Buz­zard spent most of his life in the Pil­bara and be­gan work­ing with Rio as an ap­pren­tice in his teens.

La­bor Min­ing and Pas­toral MLC Kyle McGinn, a strong sup­porter of the Lee Buz­zard Foun­da­tion, spoke at the Chan­nar Mine memo­rial ser­vice last week.

He said the foun­da­tion ful­filled a need for more in­de­pen­dent sup­port and ad­vo­cacy for peo­ple af­fected by work­place in­ci­dents.

Rio Tinto’s Chan­nar Mine man­age­ment have also ar­ranged for a new plane prop for its emer­gency re­sponse team, of which Mr Buz­zard was a vol­un­teer, to be named The Buz­zard in his hon­our.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Mr Buz­zard’s death is on­go­ing.

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