Industry News

Report shows mining fatalities, disabling injuries on the rise

According to the Queensland Mines and Quarries Safety Performance and Health Report, the number of lost time injuries (LTIs) across the state’s entire mining sector (ie quarries, and coal and metalliferous mines) for the year ended 30 June, 2015 fell from 361 in 2013–14 to 296 in 2014–15.

The lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) dropped correspondingly from 3.2 to three (3) injuries per million hours over the same period.

This overall decrease was reflected in the quarrying industry, with the number of LTIs falling from 18 in 2013–14 to 13 in 2014–15, and the LTIFR decreasing from 6.2 to 5.2 per million hours, respectively.

While this might initially appear positive, it was noted in the report that performance was more accurately measured by combining data on LTIs and disabling injuries (DIs).

Overall, the number of DIs lifted from 585 in 2013–14 to 684 in 2014–15, resulting in a combined lost time and disabling injury frequency rate increase from 8.5 to 10 injuries per million hours over the same period.

For quarries, DIs rose from four to seven (4–7) and the combined LTI and DI frequency rate increased from 7.6 to eight (8) injuries per million hours.

Queensland recorded four fatalities across 2014–15 compared to two in the previous period, although none involved quarry workers.

The six deaths across the two periods occurred within 11 months, which the state’s chief mine safety and health officer and acting commissioner for mine safety and health, Paul Harrison, said was “the worst fatality record since 1997”. He added, “This increase in fatal accidents is very concerning.”

Areas for improvement

Echoing the previous period’s report, Harrison reiterated that training, competency and support of line supervisors were key areas within the mining industry that required improvement. “Poor knowledge and competency are precursors to major mining accidents,” he stated.

Harrison also noted that the mining industry was currently experiencing “contraction and significant organisational change” and as such, it was important to recognise factors that could compromise worker safety and health, such as increased psychosocial stress and loss of expertise.

“The industry needs to actively support a positive safety culture and reaffirm its commitment to safety and health leadership to ensure all workers return home safe and well after working a shift at a Queensland mine or quarry,” Harrison concluded.

The full report is available on the Queensland Government’s website.

More reading
Better training, support key to safety improvements
Sobering health, safety findings for Queensland quarries

Leave a Reply

Send this to a friend