Extra safety inspectors for WA mines

Additional safety inspectors will be hired to monitor the troubled mining industry in Western Australia, the WA Government announced.

The announcement came after a campaign by The Sunday Times uncovered significant environmental and health and safety violations by mining companies.

It also found the government was not doing enough to regulate them.  

Mining and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion said he had appointed seven new specialist safety inspectors.

This takes the total number of Department of Mines and Petroleum inspectors to 107, with 63 mines safety inspectors, 16 petroleum safety assessors and risk analysts, and 28 dangerous goods officers.

“These new expert safety inspectors are crucial to the ongoing health and wellbeing of the State’s 98,000 resources workforce,” Marmion said.

Four safety inspectors have been appointed to the mines safety inspectorate team.

Three are working as petroleum safety assessors and risk analysts. Their duties will include safety documentation assessments, inspections, audits and investigations into oil and gas operations.

The appointments come after it was disclosed that mining companies in WA are so powerful even top environment defenders cannot keep them in check when they are caught causing significant pollution.  

Almost three WA mine sites are being shut down over safety violations that could kill or injure workers, according to Perth Now.

Death rates in WA mine sites are three times more than any other state in Australia, the latest figures from Safe Work Australia reveal.

Residents complain of asthma and breathing problems after the operators of Kalgoorlie’s Super Pit failed to prevent toxin-rich dust from blowing over homes.

Former Department of Environment director-general Keiran McNamara gave recommendations in a confidential submission in 2010 to the Environmental Protection Agency.

He recommended a limit on emissions, more stations for air monitoring, a one-kilometre exclusion zone and better smokestack filtering at the Gidji Roaster, run by operator KCGM.

None of the recommendations was implemented.

The WA mining industry celebrated its first death free year in more than a century in February this year.

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