Jul 10, 2019

Mine restarts as safety reset

Mine restarts as safety reset

Queensland mines and quarries will implement a safety reset by the end of August said Mines Minister Anthony Lynam.

Parties representing the state government, coal and hard rock mining unions, the quarry industry and employers met yesterday after a mine site fatality on Sunday.

Contractor Golding has advised that a staged recommencement of mining activities has commenced today at Baralaba North Coal Mine, following the site shutdown in relation an accident which resulted in the death of 27 year-old Jack Gerdes.

The recommencement of mining activity was made in consultation with the Inspector of Mines investigating the incident and the accident scene will remain isolated until the evidence collection process is complete.

Golding CEO Geoff Caton said that the company does not yet have a definitive date for the final report from the Mines Inspectorate.

It brought the number of workplace fatalities in extractive industries to six over the past 12 months.

The reset gives time for discussions between management, operational staff and relevant union representatives on risks and safe practice, said Dr Lynam.

“We acknowledge that these resets will be tailored to the individual sites and their various rostering and operational requirements,’ he said.

“These resets must cover all workers. The AWU and the CFMMEU will have discussions with their members on any other matters that need to be raised during this process.

“A safe and healthy work environment for everyone working on mine and quarrying sites across Queensland is our shared priority.”

We noted the appointment of three additional mines inspectors and another chief inspector, said Dr Lynam,

Two independent reviews are now underway into:

  • why mine workers have died over the past 20 years; how industry can improve and how the mines inspectorate can work better.
  • the effectiveness of state’s mining health and safety legislation.

We will participate fully in the reviews and work co-operatively on their recommendations, he said.

The group committed further to working together:

  • to convene a safety forum as part of the annual Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference on the Gold Coast (18-21 August)
  • on reforms to strengthen safety culture in the resources sector. This includes 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
  • sharing progress on the issues identified in this forum today.

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