Western Australia’s Minister for Mines and Petroleum Norman Moore has met with BHP Billiton management to express his concerns over what has been called a ‘spate’ of fatalities on BHP mine sites.
There have been five deaths on BHP sites since the beginning of the financial year, the latest a John Holland employee at the Newman site in the Pilbara.
According to the Moore, these fatalities are not acceptable and something must be done.
“I have called on the company to convince me that it is undertaking suitable steps to remedy this situation,” he said.
“Even one fatality is one too many, but this is becoming of great concern.”
Moore is in favour of closer inspection of mine sites and their safety systems.
“I am fully supportive of the requisition issued late last year by the State Mining Engineer under the Mines Safety and Inspection Act requiring independent engineering studies to be carried out, together with an across the board examination of the safety management systems, at every one of BHP Billiton’s Pilbara iron ore mine sites,” he said.
Given the current climate of uncertainty surrounding much of the mining sector, safety is more important than ever, Moore said.
“I am determined that our industry leads the world in safe practices. Safety cannot and will not be allowed to be compromised as a result of the global financial crisis,” he said.
“In the current climate of increased economic pressures, everyone has a responsibility to ensure that safety performance does not slip.”
Last month, a rail track maintenance worker was killed by a train at the Mt Newman railway.
In August and September last year there were two fatalities at BHP’s Yandi Mine and another fatality at the company’s Nelson Point Operations in Port Hedland in July.