Safety Services Company
March 5th 2013
A group of Australian miners were fired after posting a viral video of themselves doing the “Harlem Shake.”
The 30-second video features around eight underground mine workers in various states of undress performing their rendition of the viral dance craze at the Agnew Gold Mine just west of Agnew, Western Australia.
Barminco, the Australia-based underground services company that operates the mine, sent dismissal letters to 15 workers, all the workers seen in the video and several who were off camera. In the letters, Barminco claimed the performance was in violation of the company’s “core values of safety, integrity and excellence.”
Some of the miners reportedly were drawing a six-figure income from their work in the mine when they lost their jobs. The dismissal letters forbid any of the group from being “subcontracted by Barminco at any site domestically and globally.”
While it is clear in the video that the dancers were wearing PPE, several are shirtless — and at least one pantsless — a safety oversight that may have subjected the workers to a range of hazards.
According to local reports, the employer was on the eve of renewing its contract with the mine’s South Africa-based owner, Gold Fields Ltd. when the video hit the internet.
“Underground mining has strict safety standards as there are accidents and fatalities. The Barminco management saw this as a breach of standards,” Gold Fields spokesman Sven Lunsche told the Associated Press on Monday.
Thousands of groups performing their version of the viral video, set to the tune of a dance track by DJ Baauer, post to YouTube daily and have launched the song to the top of charts worldwide.