QLD mining injuries on the rise, push for safety crackdown

Queensland law firm Trilby Misso is calling for an industry wide review of safety procedures after recording a 23% rise in the number of workplace injuries involving miners.

Michael Broughton, the practice group leader at Trilby Misso, told the Morning Bulletin that the Queensland Mines Inspectorate reported 1047 workers injured in the 2011/12 financial year, a jump from 851 from the previous year.

"The Commissioner for Mine Safety and Health, Stewart Bell, also reported that the amount of injuries per million hours worked in 2011-12 was 6.8, up from 4.2 the year before," Broughton said.

However, despite Broughton’s comments, Australian Mining has previously reported a drop in fatalities year on year in Queensland, in October Queensland Mines Inspectorate Annual Performance Report showed a decrease in the number of deaths on site, dropping from three in FY2010-11, down to one in 2011-12.

The QLD minister for natural resources, Andrew Cripps, said that while this figure was an improvement, there was still work to be done.

Trilby Misso’s call to action comes as it sees a rise in the number of accident claims they’re handling as a direct result of unsatisfactory workplace procedures within the mining industry.

In one case a 42-year-old man, employed by a gold mine, seriously injured his back when he was required to drag a hose weighing approximately 100kg.

"This accident came as a result of the worker being required to perform work over and above his normal duties and physical strength, mainly because of a lack of staff on the site," Broughton said.

Meanwhile, across the Tasman, The Royal Commission yesterday released the Pike River Mining report.

Labelled by the New Zealand prime minister John Key as ‘sobering’, it has provoked a massive upheaval in New Zealand's mining safety regulations, and attacked not only the mine's management but also governmental oversights.

"The report is sobering to be perfectly frank and so I think you will see some significant recommendations that the Government will adopt," Key said.

The report, presented on Friday to the families of the Pike River miners by ministers Gerry Brownlee and Christopher Finlayson, is the result of a comprehensive inquiry.

“It examines what happened in the Pike River mine, and also important policy questions around the mining industry, and makes recommendations as to how to avoid this kind of tragedy occurring again. This is an important milestone for the families, and it is essential that they are able to see the results of this very thorough investigation which they have patiently observed and taken part in" Finlayson said.