Queensland mines have increased safety on site, managing to cut down overall lost time injury frequency rates.
According to the newly released Commissioner for Mine Safety and Health’s Annual Performance Report 2010-11, the industry’s lost time injury frequency rate dropped from 3.8 in 2009-10 down to 3.1 this year.
It dropped dramatically in the state’s underground coal mines, falling from 6.2 last year to 3.8 in 2010-11.
Queensland mining minister Sterling Hinchliffe welcomed the increase in safety at underground coal mines, adding that “lost time injury frequency rate in surface coal mines also improved: 2.7 for 2010-11, down from 3.1 for 2009-10.
“This downward trend was repeated in the state’s metalliferous mines, with a lost time industry frequency rate of 2.4 in 2010-11 compared with 3.3 in 2009-10 for underground metalliferous mines, while surface metalliferous mines also showed an improvement – a lost time injury frequency rate of 2.9 in 2010-11 compared with 3.2 in 2009-10,” he said.
He stated that the uptake of proximity detection and collision avoidance technology played a major role in the slashing of these rates.
However while the injury rate dropped at mines, it jumped at quarries, rising from 12.3 to 15.5 year on year.
During this financial year, the Queensland Mines Inspectorate carried out 174 audits and 1504 inspections of sites, as well as conducting 146 investigations into accidents.
Hinchliffe added that despite the decrease in the lost time injury frequency rate, there were still three fatal accidents this year – two in surface coal mines and one at an underground hard rock mine.
“The unusual nature of two of these fatalities – a tyre exploding and fatally injuring a worker and the collapse of a small opal mining shaft in which a miner was buried – has prompted the Mines Inspectorate to increase its focus on tyre maintenance and opal miners in the coming year.
“Enhanced safety training of opal miners has started as part of the inspectorate’s Small Mines Initiative to improve health and safety management of miners in the gem and opal fields, “he said.
Hinchliffe went on to say that there are also moves to fine tune “a guideline on fatigue management following a coroner’s report into two fatal road accidents in February 2011.