In his official comment on the annual Queensland Mines and Quarries Safety Performance and Health Report, Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and Minister for Trade, Stephen Robertson said the latest report shows improvements across most key measures of safety and health during 2009-10.
“Queensland has the toughest mining safety laws in the world and is committed to minimising risk so that every worker returns home safe at the end of every shift,” Mr Robertson said.
“While this report reflects the dedicated commitment to safety and health issues by the mining and resource sectors and its workers, we can always still do more to improve safety.”
Queensland suffered one fatality in the industry during 2009-10 – a vehicle-related accident in a quarry ? compared to four industry fatalities the previous year, the report shows.
Work-related injuries in the mining industry also fell in key performance areas of severity, duration and days lost to injury.
Medical treatments dropped from 924 to 546 injuries while lost times injuries fell from 301 to 285 injuries. There were 413 disabling injuries, down from 417 the previous year.
“A most important safety and health indicator – the lost time injury plus disabling injury duration rate – fell from 41.4 days to 28.1 days per injury.
“The lost time injury plus disabling injury severity rate was also down, from 337 to 239 days lost per million hours worked.”
Mr Robertson said while the number of high potential incidents rose from 1022 to 1751, this increase demonstrated better reporting of such incidents by industry operators.
“The State Government Mines Inspectorate has made a concerted effort to ensure industry reports these incidents so their causes are fully investigated to ensure they do not reoccur,” he said.
“Mines inspectors conducted nearly four times as many audits during 2009-10 (243) compared to the previous year (65), and the number of inspections increased from 1508 to 1535. “
Mr Robertson said the government is partnering industry in a number of initiatives to further improve health and safety in mining.
“My department’s Mining Safety and Health division is working closely with industry to implement proximity detection systems into vehicle fleets to reduce the risk of vehicle-related accidents; as well as training to minimize the impact of vibration on workers operating vehicles.
“We are also working to enhance industry awareness about dust issues and improve dust reduction strategies in the industry, particularly at quarrying operations.
“Importantly, we are improving health surveillance systems to address worker fatigue that can lead to accidents.
“The department has also assisted small mines to develop safety and health management systems to meet new legislative requirements that came into force in September 2010,” he said.
A copy of the 2009-10 Queensland Mines and Quarries Safety Performance and Health Report is available at www.dme.qld.gov.au/mines/qld_mines_quarries_safety_performance_health_report.cfm