Getting tough on safety is the only solution

IT IS good to see the Queensland Department of Natural Resources Mines and Energy showing it is willing to prosecute major mining company offenders in court over safety breaches and take whatever time it needs to investigate incidents.
Getting tough on safety is the only solution Getting tough on safety is the only solution Getting tough on safety is the only solution Getting tough on safety is the only solution Getting tough on safety is the only solution

There must be a lot of pressure from these companies to get on with the job after a safety incident to reduce lost time but to their credit, DNRME officers are sticking to their guns and insisting on forensic investigations and convincing proof from the companies that the issues have been addressed. 

The Queensland Mines Inspectorate has meticulously examined the scene at Coronado Global Resources' Curragh mine where Thiess contractor Donald Rabbitt was killed during a tyre maintenance activity.

Tyre and wheel rim fitting activities remain suspended at the mine.

Coronado CEO Gerry Spindler said while mine operations at Curragh were coming back on stream after the fatality, tyre handling at the mine was coming under closer scrutiny.

"The Queensland Mines Inspectorate subsequently issued a directive that requires all relevant tyre and wheel rim fitting activities be suspended until the inspectorate and Coronado are satisfied that these activities can recommence safely," he said.

"Work at the mine recommenced gradually from Friday January 17 following return to work safety sessions involving all workers on site.

"At the time of writing, relevant tyre and wheel rim fitting activities have not yet recommenced."

This week we learned that DNRME will be taking the Queensland coal behemoth BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance to court over the tragic death of Allan Houston at its Saraji mine on New Year's Eve in 2018.

It has filed charges in the industrial magistrates' court against BMA and a company representative alleging breaches of statutory safety and health obligations resulting in Houston's death.

An internal BMA company investigation failed to find a reason for the incident in which Houston's dozer went over the bench's crest and fell about 20m.

A DNRME spokesman said in a statement that the Queensland Resources Safety and Health Regulator prosecuted when it was in the public interest and there was sufficient evidence that was capable of securing a conviction.

Other proceedings are also underway in relation to alleged breaches of safety and health obligations causing serious injuries to a coal mine worker at Glencore run coal handling and preparation plant.

Hogsback reckons it is only through the diligent and fearless investigation of mine site safety incidents by the department's officers that the industry as a whole can learn and not repeat mistakes of the past.

Also, those companies that have been found to be in breach of their safety obligations should face the legal consequences of their negligence.