The first annual performance report by the Queensland Commissioner for Mine Safety and Health shows the state’s coal sector had a reduction in injury severity, he said.
“In particular there has been significant improvement in the coal sector in a very important measure of safety performance – injury severity,” Bell said.
“Severity is a measure of the days lost to injury. This has improved by 40 per cent.”
Bell said over the last two-year period, fatalities in coal mining, metalliferous mining and quarries fell from four in 2008-09 to one in 2009-2010.
“And while lost-time injuries and disabling injuries remained largely static in the metalliferous mining and surface coal operations, underground coal injuries fell from 200 in 2008-09 to 170 this year,” he said.
“The Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) Mines Inspectorate has implemented several new initiatives which will facilitate further improvement in this already excellent safety record.”
Bell said these included the small mines initiative to improve performance in this sector.
“Small mines account for about six per cent of the state’s mining industry workforce; yet account for nearly half of the fatal accidents in the non-coal mining sector,” he said.
“We continue to learn of fatal incidents involving heavy equipment in mining jurisdictions around the world.
“In addition, there have been some significant high potential incidents in this state.”
Bell said the Mines Inspectorate had initiated the use of collision avoidance technology for mining operations.
“We will persist in emphasising the necessity of having proximity detection devices fitted to all mobile equipment,” he said.
“There has been an increased focus on health and the Mines Inspectorate will be expanding its activities in this area.”
Other projects underway in Queensland are respirable crystalline silica exposures in the quarrying industry, diesel particulate exposure in both coal and metal mines, and training and awareness packages for whole body vibration hazards.