Inaccuracies, golden handshakes: Qld mine safety revealed

AN independent review into Queensland's mine safety statistics has been completed and publicly released in a bid to reveal the
Inaccuracies, golden handshakes: Qld mine safety revealed Inaccuracies, golden handshakes: Qld mine safety revealed Inaccuracies, golden handshakes: Qld mine safety revealed Inaccuracies, golden handshakes: Qld mine safety revealed Inaccuracies, golden handshakes: Qld mine safety revealed

 

Staff Reporter

In releasing the report yesterday Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson said the review of the Queensland Mines and Quarries Safety Performance and Health Report was ordered earlier this year.

Wilson said in addition to the review he is also working with a reference group, comprising industry, government and union representatives, to consider recommendations made in the review and make decisions in a bid to improve accuracy in Queensland's mine safety record.

The minister said the review was led by two highly respected occupational health and safety experts, each with many years experience in the mining industry.

"They closely examined the safety data against national and international standards," Wilson said.

"It was my intention that the safety data provided by mining companies be transparent, so that everyone could clearly see what was happening on the ground."

Their findings, as reported in the Sunday Mail, have exposed flaws in incident reporting systems and government departments' failures to accurately report injury statistics.

The review claims 50% of injuries in which a worker is incapacitated are not accurately reported and of more than 120 cases of permanent disability injuries suffered during 2005-06 only four were reported.

It also suggests that Queensland's official average of four injuries per million work hours is inaccurate given the national average of 17 injuries per million hours.

Short of naming specific mining companies, the report also exposes the fact that some minesites are paying employees large redundancy amounts to prevent them from recording their injuries and registering for workers compensation.

"The Government, the community, and the men and women who work in our mines would expect nothing less," Wilson said.

"We have one of the best mine safety records in the world and it is in everyone's best interests to keep it that way. There is absolutely no room for complacency.

"We have the best mine safety legislation in Australia but it must continue to be strongly enforced from the ground up."

Wilson said that those responsible for mine safety must fully play their part to ensure they never lose focus.

"They owe it to the men and women who work in the mines because they know, more than anyone, the terrible consequences of a mining disaster," he said.

"Mining is hazardous and therefore it is vital that vigilance be applied mine by mine, employer by employer, worker by worker."

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