WA OH&S changes need steering, CFMEU

The CFMEU called for representatives of industry, unions and the regulator to oversee any changes to the Western Australian mining safety legislation.

The Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) yesterday called for representatives of industry, unions and the regulator to oversee any changes to the Western Australian mining safety legislation.

This collective ‘Steering Committee’ would ensure that safety is maintained during the transition period, the CFMEU said.

The union and industry representatives wrote to the State Government, calling on them to establish the committee immediately.

CFMEU State secretary Gary Wood warned that the industry was not ready to take on a new hazard management system based on risk, as it will require a major structural change.

“The union movement will work with the Government on workers safety, but it cannot be on the basis of a knee-jerk announcement without industry and union consultation,” he said.

“It is imperative that any new model is jointly developed and jointly implemented with a steering group to ensure that safety standards are maintained throughout the transition.”

The CFMEU asked the Government to take a closer look at the work along within the National Mine Safety Framework, which was developed on a tripartite basis by unions, industry and the regulator.

“If WA follows a different model it will undermine the work of the Mine Safety Framework, which aims to develop consistency in mining safety,” Wood said.

The steering group would also address the cost recovery system for employers and the announcement of additional resources.

“No-one is going to turn down money and new jobs to help improve mine safety,” Wood said.

“But it is not as simple as throwing money at the Inspectorate.”

The CFMEU is also concerned that the proposed cost recovery system for employers could lead to employers having control and undue influence over the regulator

“The Inspectorate, in the interim, must demonstrate transparency in the workplace and work with elected Occupational Safety and Health representatives who are at the front line of mine safety,” Wood said.

“Mine safety needs the Government’s full attention, but it cannot tackle safety alone.”

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