The IQA’s Queensland branch held a follow up health and safety workshop in Brisbane on 11 November. The aim was to provide an opportunity to update knowledge on key safety topics raised at the Queensland Safety & Health Conference earlier in the year and promote further dialogue about ways to improve the industry’s approach to work health and safety issues.
After the positive feedback received at the mid-year health and safety conference in Brisbane, the Institute of Quarrying Australia (IQA) brought in three experts to educate members on how they can improve their safety standards, as well as educating them on their liabilities in the event of serious accidents or fatalities.
One of the presenters was Jodie Goodall, Brady Heywood’s Head of Organisational Reliability.
Goodall’s primary philosophy stems from seeing through the implementations of positive strategies within high reliability organisations (HRO). She explained how quarrying businesses could implement more pre-emptive strategies to keep their employees safe and avoid the damning statistics around employee safety outlined within the Brady Report prepared last year for the Queensland Government.
“There is this outstanding pattern that continues to happen,” Goodall explained. “The first thing that is noticeable is that the mining and quarrying industries are not improving. There have been 12 fatalities in any five-year period over the past 20 years, resulting in an average of 2.4 fatalities every year.
“The Brady Report suggests this is due to the industry’s increasing and decreasing periods of vigilance and that’s why the key recommendations from the report are to adopt the key principles of high reliability organisations,” Goodall said.
The key principles stemming from HROs that Goodall felt would best aid quarrying businesses were the management of critical risk, the development of pre-emptive systems to capture warning signs of failure, and having a chronic unease mindset.
Through these strategies, Goodall believes that businesses within the field will be able to build proactive cornerstones within their organisations that will try to the best of their abilities to prevent fatalities.
They would also help businesses form and solidify clear and concise processes if fatalities were to occur.
‘Three steps behind’
After Goodall’s presentation, the conference turned its focus to the legalities within the extractive industries.
Harold Downes, Partner at Mills Oakley, made a poignant observation that in the past the quarrying industry had been “two steps ahead of the regulator” but today its members are more likely to be “three steps behind”. He urged every member to be up to date and familiar with extractive regulations in Queensland or the other jurisdictions in which they operate.
Downes added it is evident that in the past there was not as much administrative paperwork and compliance that needed to be done, compared to the present time.
Due to this added complexity, combined with the inclusion of the Industrial Manslaughter charge in Queensland, Downes said quarries need to be more vigilant on their sites than ever before.
Downes was joined by Alan Girle, Special Counsel of Macpherson Kelley Lawyers. He provided insight and advice on how to make the legal process run more smoothly after major incidents.
“When you have a good communication process, you will do everything you can to have the [victim’s] family on side,” Girle said.
“For any given situation you need to think about how carefully you are going to manage the situation,” he added.
Overall, the workshop provided a great opportunity for attendees to learn new techniques on how to make its businesses safer, and in turn, avoid serious injuries and fatalities.
The workshop was sponsored by Phoenix Occupational Medicine.
A networking sundowner, which followed the workshop, was sponsored by Health Surveillance Australia.
Jodie Goodall’s thoughts on chronic uneasse appear in the December 2021 issue of Quarry.
By Atara Thenabadu