Unions fight for roll over protection

The CFMEU have lodged an application to appeal the use of light vehicles on mine sites that do not feature roll over protection.

BHP’s new light vehicle policy prohibits the fitment of non-ANCAP compliant bull bars and aftermarket suspension kits (and upgrades) as well as roll over protection.

As Australian Mining reported last month, CFMEU’s health and safety representative Greg Dalliston said he was concerned that new standards reduced rollover protection.

In March, the CFMEU ordered vehicles without rollover protection be removed from service but Queensland's Mines Inspectorate overturned that directive, ABC reported.

Dalliston wants BHP to produce evidence that safety is not being compromised.

"Whether it's by an engineering study, whether it's by some crush test, or whether it's by some other means – but some proper information be provided to show they're equal to or better than what people were working with before," he said.

"That's all I've been after the whole time and that's all the coal mine workers have requested as well."

Dalliston said while they accounted for only a small number of total accidents, one-in-five fatalities were from rollovers.

"I don't believe I've seen enough information to show that the vehicles being used on that site are at an acceptable level of risk,” he said.

"I don't believe they've shown in the information to say the standard of the protective structure of the vehicles they're using now are equal to or better than the vehicles they had prior to that time."

When contacted by Australian Mining, a BHP spokesperson said the company was committed to safety.

“The health and safety of all of our employees and contractors is our absolute priority,” she said.

“BHP Billiton continually reviews the company policies and procedures to ensure best practice is maintained.

The spokesperson said extensive research had been conducted before the new policy was implemented.

“We recognise that industry members and representative may have concerns when we implement changes to our safety policies and procedures,” BHP told Australian Mining.

“However no changes are implemented without extensive research and consultation to ensure the most relevant safety technologies are adopted globally.

“We remain confident this is the right decision for our workforce and the community as safer vehicles appear on the road.”

The new policy caused a storm of divided opinion on Australian Mining’s website last month.

 “The ROPS secondary function is to give structural integrity (survival space) to the vehicle body in case of a landslide falling on top of the vehicle, especially on a rollover off ramps to open pits,” one worker noted.

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