“Culture of cover-ups” at deadly WA mines

Mines in Western Australia are amongst the most unsafe in the country, according to new data from Safe Work Australia.

The Sunday Times reports a "culture of cover ups" also reigns on some sites, with workers reluctant to report injuries or accidents for fear of reprimand.

According to The Sunday Times the latest Safe Work Australia figures show more mining workers die in WA than any other state.

The data shows from 2007-08 to 2010-11 16 mining workers died in WA compared to six in Queensland, five in New South Wales and South Australia, and two in Victoria.

According to The Sunday Times while WA has over a third of Australia's mining workforce it accounts for almost half the deaths in the industry.

The SWA data shows a small climb in the rate of fatalities for the WA industry as the total workforce has grown.

Previous records show over a six year period from 2003-04 to 2009-10, 25 mining workers died in WA at a rate of over four a year.

In the same period 15 workers died in QLD, a rate of over two per year.

The new data shows over five workers a year died in WA from 2007-08 to 2010-11, but QLD's rate fell slightly to two a year.

Worker advocacy groups say employees can be reluctant to report accidents or injuries because some companies link bonuses to lost-time injury rates.

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