Hunter mines fatality free for 2012

New South Wales' Hunter Valley has had one of its best years, recording zero fatalities in 2012.

However despite the achievement, the NSW Minerals Council has warned that now is not the time for complacency, according to the ABC.

A number of safety initiatives have been the main drivers for achievement, including health and diet programs.

NSWMC head Stephen Galilee said while the lack of fatalities for the region's industry was great, focus should not be lost.

"[It is a] priority and challenge for the mining industry in New South Wales, to maintain and improve our already enviable and world class safety record," Galilee said.

"We know that it is technically a challenging workplace whether it be open cut or underground."

It comes as Queensland saw one of its worst years for safety in a decade.

In its 2010-11 period it saw a spike in the number of injuries, with QLD commissioner for mine safety, Stewart Bell, stating that "our safety outcomes in some areas have deteriorated and this is cause for concern".

Bell added that "we have seen a disturbing rise in dangerous behaviour in underground coal mines".

The state's recent safety report highlighted incidents such as a dragline house all but demolishing the rear of a service truck with two people in the cab; an electrician found working on live equipment in a gassy development panel; a contract mining smoking in one of the state's gassiest underground coal mines; and people tampering with methane detectors on mining equipment.

"Such behaviour problems might be linked to the influx of newcomers to the industry who do not fully appreciate the dangers of underground coal mining. The training and industry familiarisation of these people is critically important and we must be certain that they are ready for the job before they commence work underground," he said.

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