Queensland's new safety act implemented

AS OF March 16, Queensland’s new mining safety laws came into force, effectively replacing the Coal Mining Act of 1925.

Staff Reporter

In making the announcement, Minister for the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Stephen Robertson, warned of stiffer penalties for those failing to meet safety obligations.

Robertson said the new Coal Mining Safety and Health Act imposes greater responsibility on the mining industry to ensure the safety and health of its workers.

"These laws represent the most significant change to mining safety in Queensland since 1925 when the Coal Mining Act was first introduced," Robertson said.

"The laws require all mining and quarrying operations to be run safely and in full compliance consistent with modern workplace health and safety standards.

"This will afford greater protection from death and injury to mining workers and significantly reduce the risk of accidents at Queensland mines and quarrying operations," he said.

Robertson said the new laws reflect the recommendations of the Inquiry into the 1994 Moura No 2 mine disaster and reflect the Beattie Government's commitment to safety in the workplace.

"The laws apply to all mining operations ranging from one-person gemstone operations up to large scale mining operations that employ 2000 workers or more at a single operation.

"All mining operations are required to have in place proper safety and health management systems which will be regularly audited by a strengthened government Mining Inspectorate with powers to prevent unsafe practices and to hold accountable those who fail to fulfil their safety and health obligations.

"Increased penalties, including provision for imprisonment, have been introduced for those who fail to meet their safety obligations resulting in an accident leading to death or serious injury.

"Also included are provisions that require a thorough investigation into all mining accidents while all fatalities will be examined by the coroner, therefore allowing an external review of safety and health failures by a body independent of all agencies associated with the mining industry," he said.

Robertson said the new laws had been developed with the full involvement of mining unions, the Queensland Mining Council and metalliferous and coal mine operators.

"These new laws provide the strongest framework for all parties to improve safety and its now up to all of us to work towards making the mining industry safer for the men and women who work in it," he said.