Queensland mines star safety performers

QUEENSLAND underground coal mines made major head roads into decreasing lost time injuries, severity rates and number of disabling injuries in 2002-2003, with German Creek Central recording only one injury and six days lost for the year.
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Queensland minister for mines Stephen Robertson

Angie Tomlinson

According to the latest Queensland Mines and Quarries Safety Performance and Health Report for 2002-03 released yesterday, number of lost time injuries decreased by 27% from 112 to 82 and number of days lost decreased 29% from 1743 to 1243, compared to 2001-02

The lost time frequency rate dropped by 25% and the severity rate also slipped 27% with the average duration of injuries registering 15.6 days.

Ten of the 12 Queensland mines improved their safety performance with German Creek Central and Newlands registering only one injury each during the year. This was closely followed by German Creek Southern, Cook, and Grasstree recording two each for 2002-03.

German Creek Southern and Central were also able to keep their severity rates low and the Goonyella exploration audit, Grasstree and Kestrel registered no disabling injuries for the year. Medical treatments were kept low at Cook, Moranbah North and North Goonyella No. 1.

Electrical incidents were the most common high potential incident in underground coal mines during the period, followed by loss of control/unplanned movement, fire, fall/slip of ground and vehicle.

Compared to New South Wales 2001-02 figures, Queensland registered lower lost time injury frequency rates for underground coal mines and also compared favourably to the United States of America.

Queensland Mines minister Stephen Robertson said as safety in mines continued to improve, with progressive downward shifts in injury rates, the focus would shift over time to the health of mine workers.

"At my request, a tripartite team (industry, unions and government), led by the department's Deputy Chief Inspector of Mines (Coal), has reviewed the health provisions of our mining safety and health laws," said Robertson.

"The report, which has been finalised, recommends an improved health surveillance model in Queensland, in partnership with the mining industry, to systematically identify, assess, eliminate and control adverse occupational health risks to mine workers," he said.

The Department of Natural Resources and Mines will commence preparatory work this year with staged implementation of the recommendations of the health surveillance report occurring in 2004.

Copies of the Queensland Mines and Quarries Safety Performance and Health Report 2002-03 are available on the NRM web site at: www.nrm.qld.gov.au/mines/safety_health_publications

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