CFMEU “wary” of new QLD mine safety proposals

The Queensland Government has put forward mine safety improvements and is asking for industry feedback.

It is asking for submissions from the mining communities and industry.

The improvements including an additional coal industry health and safety representative, more protection of contract workers, and regulation of alcohol, drug and fatigue management on mine sites.  

It also includes changes to health guidelines for contractors and workers, and laws to make sure the hazards of explosive dust would be alleviated with “stone dusting”.

According to the Daily Mercury, this involves combining rock dust with coal dust.

But the Construction Forestry and Mining and Energy Union is not completely satisfied with the changes and cautioned workers to be “wary” of the new changes made by the state’s Department of Mines.

Queensland district president Stephen Smyth said while they supported the additional representative, they would not back changes to their authority.

Under the new rules, representatives can only close a dangerous operation if they were present on that particular site. They will have to notify management.

Smyth was also wary of proposals to limit health assessments to hearing, muscle and bone function, and breathing.

The CFMEU launched a campaign against the Queensland state government’s proposed safety legislation changes in December last year.

It said the government was under pressure from the QRC to remove powers held by mine check inspectors and place it in the hands of mine management.

The Queensland Resources Council backs the modifications but said it would assess its stance before submissions have to be made.

Chief executive Michael Roche said mining safety laws were passed ten years ago and it was time to update it.

Mines minister Andrew Powell said mine workers’ safety is top priority, the ABC reported.

“These proposals aim to protect the lives of Queenslanders who work in one of our most important industries, the resources sector,” he said.

"Queensland is recognised internationally for its excellent mine safety record, however, no system is perfect and I believe these proposals will ensure our mine sites are even safer for employees."

The deadline for submissions is November 11.

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