The Queensland Government will bring in sweeping changes to the way in which annual mine safety statistics are recorded in the State, according to Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson.
Minister Wilson ordered a review of the annual mine safety statistical report last year after concerns were raised that some figures in the report did not accurately reflect the safety performance in some mines.
“I called in two highly-respected health and safety experts to run the ruler over the annual safety statistics,” Wilson said.
“They produced a warts-and-all report with 36 recommendations. While it shines a light on what’s being done right, it also hangs a lantern on some of the problems in the mining industry,” he said.
Minister Wilson said the recommendations covered a wide range of issues including case studies, mine audits, the definition and reporting of injuries and high potential incidents, data analysis and the level of awareness of health and safety risks.
“For instance, the safety and health experts found the reporting of lost time injuries was incomplete.
“The stats in the annual report didn’t tell the true story. They only reported on half the injuries that prevent a person from returning to work. What about a disabling injury, like a bad back, that keeps workers away from their job?”
The Minister said he was sitting in a pub in Middlemount in the heart of the Bowen Basin, holding a meeting with mine workers, when they raised concerns about the safety figures.
“The safety experts examined all the data against national and international standards and made a number of important recommendations,” he said.
“Even though they said the annual report was ‘the most comprehensive safety performance statistical report available for an industry,” there’s always room for improvement. And improve it we will.”
The report is on the Department of Mines and Energy’s website: www.dme.qld.gov.au.