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Mine Safety On The Agenda At Gold Coast Conference

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Image By TripodStories- AB - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

UPDATE | A statewide initiative to refocus on safety has already reached nearly half the state’s 50,000-strong mine and quarry workforce.

But Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham told companies and union representatives at a safety forum on the Gold Coast over the weekend, that only 13 days remained for another 26,000 people to complete the workplace safety sessions.

“More than 23,000 workers have joined management and union representatives to take part in safety resets at more than 160 mines and quarries,” he told around 100 attendees at the special forum.

“That’s a lot of people, but the commitment from companies and unions in July was that every worker, at every site would attend a reset by the end of August.

“I will report to the regional Parliament in Townsville on the reset, and that includes naming any sites and their operators where workers have not had resets.”

The forum follows on from another Dr Lynham convened in July after the death of six workers in Queensland mines and quarries in less than a year.

The July forum committed to the safety reset, as well as working together on further reforms to strengthen safety culture in the resources sector.

This includes sanctions for reckless behaviour and legislative reforms, such as the government’s proposal to actively consider the offence of “industrial manslaughter”.

As part of the safety response, the Government is also recruiting three more mines inspectors and a chief inspector of coal mining.

Two independent reviews are also due to report back by the end of the year on:

  • why mine and quarry workers have died over the past 20 years; how industry can improve and how the mines inspectorate can work better.
  • the state’s mining health and safety legislation.

The forum is part of a three-day focus on mining health and safety, at the annual Queensland Mining Industry Safety and Health Conference.

Around 680 people from chief executives to safety officers from mines across the state are attending the Gold Coast event.

EARLIER | A record number of mining industry representatives will spend four days discussing the well-being of every man and woman in the mining sector at the Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference on the Gold Coast starting this weekend.

Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said more than 900 people will attend the conference starting on Sunday August 18, which was the largest cohort in the conference’s 31-year history.

“It has been overwhelming to see the response from industry to the conference this year after the tragic death of six mine and quarry workers,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“I’ll be sitting down with Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham and union representatives to ensure the safety of all workers remains the number one priority. Everyone who works in a mine – or any other workplace for that matter – is entitled to leave for work and return home safely to their loved ones.

“Already industry is rolling out comprehensive safety resets across mine sites including two-way conversations with workers and safety professionals to remind them of the dangers faced on a site.

The conference theme this year is ‘Working to the Future’ with a goal of making sure all delegates learn a new technique or approach to health and safety.

Delegates will hear from Russell White Managing Director of Driver Safety Australia, Brant North who survived a mine accident and has represented Australia at the Paralympics, advocate for countering violent extremism Gill Hicks and big wave surfer and Red Bull Athlete Mark Matthews.

Conference Chair and CFMEU’s safety representative Greg Dalliston said the annual conference was a key event on the mining calendar.

“The conference brings together unions, industry and the Government and encourages all parties to work together and share ideas about new safety measures and health techniques,” Mr Dalliston said.

The gathering comes after six mine workers were killed on worksites in Queensland in 12 months.  

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