PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Queensland government on Thursday announced the appointment of three additional mine inspectors and another chief inspector in a bid to improve safety conditions in Queensland mines, following six deaths over the last 12 months.
Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham noted that two independent reviews have also been launched to determine the cause of fatalities at mine sites over the last 20 years and how industry and the mines inspectorate can improve operations, and to ascertain the effectiveness of the state’s mining health and safety legislation.
“We will participate fully in the reviews and work cooperatively on their recommendations,” Lynham said in a joint statement with the Queensland Resources Council (QRC), Concrete and Aggregates Australia, the CFMEU, and the Australian Workers Union (AWU).
Meanwhile, Lynham said that Queensland mines and quarries will also implement a safety reset by the end of August for discussions between management, operational staff and relevant union representatives on risks and safe practice.
“We acknowledge that these resets will be tailored to the individual sites and their various rostering and operational requirements. These resets must cover all workers.”
QRC CEO Ian Macfarlane said that the reset would be on top of the comprehensive safety briefings that already occur on each mine site, and will have the ability to meet mine-by-mine and site-specific requirements to ensure the best safety outcomes.
“The objective must be to reach every worker across every shift. Therefore, these resets will be tailored to the individual sites and their various rostering and operational requirements. QRC will work with the employee representatives - the CFMEU and the AWU - to ensure our industry has the most robust safety culture it can and that two-way conversations between management and operational staff are ongoing,” Macfarlane said.
The parties have also agreed to convene a safety forum as part of the annual Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference, and will work together on reforms to strengthen safety culture in the resources sector, including sanctions for reckless behaviour and legislative reforms, such as the government’s proposal to actively consider the offence of industrial manslaughter, which exists in other industry sectors.
Meanwhile, mining operations have restarted at the Baralaba North coal mine, after a 27-year-old mining operator was fatally injured earlier this week.
Mining services provider Golding said that the start of mining activity was made in consultation with the Inspector of Mines, which is investigating the incident. The accident scene will remain isolated until all the evidence has been collected.