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Worker killed by taipan in central Queensland

An Ergon Energy employee died almost instantly after being bitten by a deadly snake while out on a job in central Queensland.

Yeppoon crew leader Andrew Vaughan was working his way through dense bushland on Friday with a backhoe operator trying to beat a path to a pole that needed maintenance work.

During the work, Mr Vaughan lost contact with the crew, who raised the alarm as soon as they realised, according to an internal email sent out to Ergon Energy staff by operations executive general manager Peter Billing, who called the death "tragic".

Mr Vaughan was already dead by the time he was found after a huge search by the police, SES volunteers and Ergon Energy employees.

It has been confirmed by Ergon Energy he died from a Taipan snake bite.

"His death is a shock to us all and the organisation continues to support his family and workmates," Mr Billing wrote in the email.


"We are staying in contact with Andrew's wife and family and offer our continuing support.

"His workmates have also received support and counselling."

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has launched an investigation into the death and Ergon Energy is having their own internal investigation.

Mr Vaughan's funeral will be held this Friday at Yeppoon.

"The incident is a reminder to us all of the potential dangers our people in the field face every day while undertaking their job," Mr Billing wrote.

"The Taipan is regarded as Australia's most dangerous species of snake.

"I urge you to treat all snakes as venomous and ensure you consider your surroundings and any potential hazards."

Taipans can grow to 3 metres long and are usually found in canefields feasting on rats.


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