Hogsback on taking safety reset seriously

HOGSBACK is appalled by reports Queensland mines minister Dr Anthony Lynham had to take the leaders of some of Queensland’s leading coal mining companies to task about their commitment to the safety reset agreed upon after six deaths in the industry over the past 12 months.
Hogsback on taking safety reset seriously Hogsback on taking safety reset seriously Hogsback on taking safety reset seriously Hogsback on taking safety reset seriously Hogsback on taking safety reset seriously

It is not enough to just pay lip service to safety. As many safety experts will tell you it takes more than a "tick and flick" attitude to establish real changes to safety outcomes.

What is required is a change in safety culture.

Safety Reset sessions are being held across the state through to the end of August.

However, Lynham was reportedly forced to demand mining bosses raise the standards of stop-work safety resets after complaints from mining unions about the quality of the resets delivered by some companies.

"If I heard something from the Queensland Resources Council about a company having difficulties, I was on the phone," he reportedly told The Australian.

"If I heard something from the CFMEU [Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union] or AWU [Australian Workers' Union] that they were disappointed with a company, or a company had done their first [reset] and it needed to be upgraded to a higher standard, I was on the phone.

"The first ones are obviously always going to have teething issues and that's why I became personally involved, very early on, to make sure we set a standard and that standard is high."

Lynham said 40 mine and quarry sites had so far completed resets for about 3000 workers.

CFMEU Queensland president Stephen Smyth reportedly told The Australian that some of the safety reset meetings were too short, piecemeal, and inconsistent at some BHP Mitsubishi Alliance mines.

According to a BMA spokesman the reset was happening at 11 BHP sites and would reach about 10,000 people when finished.

Hogsback was initially encouraged by the response of several mining CEOs, unions, and government after the spate of tragedies that needlessly took the lives of Queensland mine workers.

Included among these coal mining chiefs was Coronado Global Resources CEO Gerry Spindler, Yancoal CEO Reinhold Schmidt and BMA asset president James Palmer.

Palmer recently admitted the company had more work to do on safety after dozer operator Allan Houston died in an incident at its Saraji mine on New Year's Eve.

An internal company investigation failed to find a reason for the incident in which Houston's dozer went over the bench's crest and fell approximately 20m.

Another investigation into the tragedy by the Queensland Mines Inspectorate is still in progress.

"As a leader you never want to receive the call that one of your people has been hurt or killed at work," Palmer said.

He said internally, over the past six months, BMA had been reviewing and resetting its safety standards and refocusing on its life-saving critical controls.

"To be candid, we recognise we have more work to do - and we can't ever be complacent about safety," he said.

These are fine and true words. Let's hope that the coal mining industry takes them seriously to avert more unnecessary deaths in the future.