The mine safety commissioner’s Annual Performance Report 2010-11 recorded three fatalities during 2010-11, two in surface coal mines and one at an underground hard rock mine.
In one incident a worker was killed after a light vehicle rolled over on an open-cut mine road, while a collapse of an opal mining shaft resulted in a miner being buried.
Queensland mine safety commissioner Stewart Bell said the fatalities were all of an unusual occurrence and were also very disappointing considering there was only one death during the 2009-10 period.
He said the deaths had prompted the group to increase its focus on “areas that may not have previously been under the spotlight”, including tyre maintenance.
On an improved note the report said the lost time injury frequency rate in the state’s underground coal mines dropped from 3.8 in 2009-10 down to 3.1 this year.
In 1999-2000, this figure was 11.8.
Minister for Employment, Skills and Mining Stirling Hinchliffe said the drop in lost time injuries was highly encouraging, with the state’s underground mettalliferous mine lost time injury rate also dropping from 2.4 in 2010-11 compared with 3.3 in 2009-10.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche was impressed by the improvement in the industry’s safety standards but was concerned about the three fatalities.
“Fatal accidents aren't just statistics, they are a tragedy for their families, friends and workmates,” Roche said.
“I'm pleased to see that the Queensland Mines Inspectorate will place a special focus on tyre maintenance and education of small miners in our opal and gem fields in the coming year.”
The Queensland Mines Inspectorate conducted 174 audits and 1504 investigations throughout the state and investigated 146 incidents related to mine accidents.