WHITEHAVEN Coal could be whacked with a $1.5 million fine for a truck crash that hospitalised one of its employees.
The NSW Resource Regulator has started prosecution proceedings against the mining company over the collision at its Maules Creek mine on April 21, 2018.
The mining watchdog conducted an extensive investigation into the incident, which revealed it was caused by a stop-sign change that hadn't been properly communicated.
A 100-tonne service truck hit the side of a 500-tonne haul truck, resulting in "catastrophic damage" to the service truck.
The haul truck stopped about 100 metres past the impact point. Both were travelling under the mine's 60km/h speed limit.
The driver suffered serious back, shoulder and wrist injuries, and was flown to hospital.
Resources Regulator chief investigator Steve Orr said the investigation found the intersection stop signs had been relocated the day before the incident, but the signage change had not been communicated to all workers.
"Both truck drivers believed they had the right of way before the collision," he said.
"Mine operators must conduct detailed risk assessments when major changes are made to mine roads and ensure that changes are communicated to all workers."
A Whitehaven spokesperson said the company had previously acknowledged the seriousness of the incident.
"[Whitehaven] immediately took steps to improve its risk assessment processes for intersection changes and to undertake engineering reviews when changes to intersections are proposed," they said.
"The safety of Whitehaven employees and operations remains our number one priority.
"As proceedings have commenced, the company will not be commenting further at this time."
The matter is set for mention in court on February 10.