A safety first appeal

The Union representing workers in Queensland’s booming mining Industry has welcomed the Queensland Ombudsman’s comprehensive report into the Queensland Mines Inspectorate.

The Union representing workers in Queensland’s booming mining Industry has welcomed the Queensland Ombudsman’s comprehensive report into the Queensland Mines Inspectorate.

The Ombudsman found significant deficiencies in recording and compliance activities and highlighted several other issues of concern to workers in the industry.

“These findings highlight what we have been saying for quite some time. Safety must not be compromised for Queensland mining workers and their families just because demand is through the roof.” Mining Workers Union vice president Stuart Vaccaneo said.

“We have had 4 deaths’ this financial year in mines and a significant rise in injuries requiring medical treatment from 758 to 1,132. The number of high-potential incidents reported rose from 839 to 1,128,

It’s just not good enough,” he said.

Queensland’s Mining and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson recently took strong action to address concerns from workers about safety by increasing the number of staff at the inspectorate.

“We commend the Minister for his leadership on this issue, the safety of workers and their families must come first,” Vaccaneo said.

The CFMEU Mining Division also urged the Minister to go further by increasing unannounced inspections of mines by the Department of Mines and Energy, publicly releasing injury and fatality information, initiatives to provide protection for mining workers who complain about safety issues and the creation of a Mine Safety Commissioner.

“We need more openness in the industry when it comes to safety. Let’s put it all on the table by publicly disseminating serious and fatal accident information so the Queensland public can judge whether the industry is taking the safety of workers seriously enough,” Vaccaneo said.

Vaccaneo also said the Queensland Resources Council opposed the Government’s recent industry levy which will be used in part to fund increased resources for the inspectorate and other safety initiatives in the industry. The QRC are opposing the linking of the levy to increased funding for the inspectorate.

“The QRC’s claims that this will decrease the impartiality of the inspectorate are rubbish; they are simply a smoke screen for their campaign against the industry levy. More funding for the inspectorate means more safety for workers, there are no two ways about it,” he said.

“I call on the Queensland Resources Council to get serious about safety and show some leadership by supporting these important new initiatives. At a time when the resources sector is reaping billions in

profits, the QRC should wake up to themselves and try to understand the challenges faced on a day to

day basis by mining workers and their families,” Vaccaneo said.

Stuart Vaccaneo

Executive Vice President

Mining Union

0418 885 360

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