Two independent health and safety reviews into Queensland’s mines and quarries are now underway, after the state recorded its sixth fatality in 12 months last week.
This makes it Queensland’s worst year for mining deaths since 1997.
CMFEU Mining & Energy QLD president Stephen Smyth said it was “becoming increasingly clear that we have a safety crisis in the Queensland mining industry.”
In response to the latest death, the Queensland government brought together mining company CEOs and union representatives for an urgent safety forum this week.
Mines Minister Anthony Lynham then announced he would widen an existing review into mining health and safety which will examine all fatal incidents in mines and quarries since the year 2000.
The original review was only slated to look at coal mine incidents up until the end of 2018.
“This review will look at why mine workers have died over the past 20 years; how industry can improve and how the mines inspectorate can work better.”
Lynham said that separately, the University of Queensland was also reviewing the state’s mining health and safety legislation to ensure it is relevant to current and emerging mine practice and technology.
Both reviews are expected to be completed by the end of the year and will be tabled in Parliament.
And although Lynham said the reviews received the full support of industry representatives, the CFMEU wants further action taken to protect workers.
Smyth said all Queensland coal mines should be required to stop production for a minimum of 24 hours as a show of respect, and so that “serious reflections” can occur.
“A suspension of production would be opportunity for the State Government, mining companies and workers to reset the industry’s safety culture and practices.”
The CMFEU is also putting pressure on the state government to introduce industrial manslaughter laws, as well as unannounced inspections at all mines.