Rachel Blee shares her experience after she lost her husband in a mining accident in a bid to help others through A Miner’s Legacy.
Rachel Blee shares her experience after she lost her husband in a mining accident in a bid to help others through A Miner’s Legacy. Lee Constable

A Miner's Legacy born out of wife's tragedy

WHAT makes Rachel Blee's story so harrowing is that it could happen to anyone.

In 2007, when her four kids were aged between eight and one, she was told her husband Jason had been killed in an underground coal mining accident.

More than seven years on, workplace deaths are still prevalent in Queensland's resource industry. Three people died on sites this year.

 

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Ms Blee is now one of the driving forces behind the non-profit charity A Miners Legacy.

She goes from mine site to mine site, sharing her story at toolbox talks in a bid to lower complacency and boost safety.

"I talk about my experience and how it affected my family," she said.

"My kids are happy and healthy. But they miss their father terribly.

"There are times they do things, and I am sure they are thinking 'I wish Dad was here'."

She describes her late husband as a man who "lived for his kids", a mad V8 racing fan and a great provider.

After her speeches, Mrs Blee said, there was often a sense of "shock" within the audience.

"You do get a lot of people who won't say anything until the room has cleared," she said.

"I'm trying to make people aware and to think.

"The fatalities that we have had (recently)... these people are not old. They are in the prime of their life."

In the months and years that followed Jason Blee's death she suffered compounded grief.

Not only did she have to come to terms with the sudden loss of her husband, she also had to cope with the stress of the public inquest into his death, unforseen financial pressures (as Jason had no will or life insurance) and the daunting task of raising four children as a single parent.

Mrs Blee said she never had the chance to grieve properly - she just had to try to keep it together for her kids.

Her family and friends were the only support she had.

A Miners Legacy now offers families resources and support through grief.

 


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