Longer shifts will injure miners, CFMEU

Longer standard shifts at BMA’s coal mines will be detrimental to safety at the mine, the CFMEU has claimed.

The BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA) change to shift lengths is a danger to miners and the community, the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) have claimed.

The union has stated that BMA are denying it has “secretly implemented 14 to 16 hour shift lengths” that may run for “dangerous consecutive 14 day periods.

“BMA, one of Australia’s largest coal miners, has made a deliberate move away from 12 hours shift lengths and are trying to spin the community into thinking they are not,” CFMEU district secretary Jim Valery said.

The union called on BMA and the Queensland Resources Council to openly announce the shift changes.

If BMA has no plans to implement the fatigue standard of 14 hour shifts for a fortnight non-stop, with the possibility of 16 hour maximum shifts, then it should openly rule out these potentially dangerous shift increases, the CFMEU said.

The CFMEU “recognises that there will be exceptional circumstances where longer shifts are needed, but this standard says it is ok to do 14 hours for 14 days straight,” Valery said.

Within BMA’s fatigue risk management strategy papers, it outlines that any extension to a 14 hour shift will need to have a risk assessment conducted and signed off by the most senior person on site.

Work at the mines stopped for seven hours yesterday after the union representative found the fatigue management standards were unsafe.

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