Mining safety forum
Mining safety forum

Safety overhaul to affect every mine in state

CLOSE to 50,000 mine and quarry workers across Queensland will undergo a safety "reset" by the end of next month.

The major initiative will see employees undertake special training that will specifically target fatal risks, in addition to current safety inductions.

The independent mine health and safety commissioner will create a safety program tailored to every mine site, with employees to undertake the reset for "as long (as) it takes" at the start of a chosen shift.

The resolution was decided at an urgent safety forum in Brisbane today attended by more than 60 industry representatives, including from Glencore, BHP, Adani and Downer.

Mines Minister Anthony Lynham, Queensland Resource Council, CFMEU and AWU also attended.

It follows six deaths at mines and quarries across Queensland during the past 12 months, including that of 27-year-old Jack Gerdes who lost his life at the Baralaba North Coal Mine at the weekend.

Dr Lynham said last night the safety reset would start as soon as possible.

"Every worker deserves the right to come home safely," he said.

The State Government has also proposed the industry consider the introduction of industrial manslaughter which exists in other sectors.

This will be discussed at the Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference on the Gold Coast between August 18 to 21 which Dr Lynham will address.

When asked why industrial manslaughter couldn't be introduced now, QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the industry needed to understand what would be gained by it.

"We need to see what benefit is going to come to the workers from introducing industrial manslaughter, bearing in mind that workers may go to jail as a result of this legislation," he said.

"If you're going to have a situation where the … safety officers are held responsible for this, we want to make sure that there is a benefit in the introduction of what is already very stringent legislation."

Dr Lynham will further outline the proposal at the conference, with the industry to continue discussions following.

A raft of measures have been announced this week in the wake of the fatalities, such as expanding the current independent review of coalmining deaths to include quarries and other mines dating back to 2000.

Two women have also been appointed to the Coal Mining Safety and Health Advisory Committee after it was revealed the group hadn't met since March because it didn't meet its gender quota.

AWU organiser Mark Raguse said the union supported the reset.

"We've had serious concerns for quite a while about the level of safety and duty of care at mines and quarries," he said.

"We support the reset and think it will be productive to reflect and educate members over the state."



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