The Queensland Government has announced it will tighten mine safety laws to require all mines to provide information immediately to investigators following a fatality or serious mining accident.
The changes were sparked by a fatal underground accident at the BHP Billiton Cannington metals mine earlier this year where employees, acting on the company’s legal advice, refused to provide the location of the accident to the mines inspectors who attended the mine to investigate.
Following the accident, the CFMEU was told by a source present at the mine after the fatality, that management barred access to employees until the company’s legal team arrived on site.
Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson said the Cannington scandal forced the Government to take action to ensure a similar situation did not arise in the future.
“It was over 28 hours before investigators were provided with the relevant information to enable them to commence their investigation.”
“To prevent this happening again the laws are to be amended to ensure that persons with relevant knowledge about the location, time and circumstances of a serious mining accident must provide that information to investigating officers,” he said.
“This will ensure police and Mines Inspectorate officers can get accurate information as soon as possible so they can go about their business of investigating incidents, saving lives and making Queensland’s mines as safe as possible,” he said.
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