Legislation to improve safety and health for mine workers, including contractors and workers in small mines has been introduced to Parliament this week.
Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Dr. Anthony Lynham said the Mines Legislation (Resources Safety) Amendment Bill would ensure Queensland’s mining safety laws continued to help all workers to “get home safely to their families”.
“Proposed laws include reform initiatives that increase compliance powers for the mine safety and health inspectorate, demand greater transparency and accountability and require better safety and health systems from operators,” said Dr. Lynham.
The changes include:
- Increased maximum penalties for breaches of safety and health obligations
- Civil penalties for serious safety and health breaches
- Increased powers to suspend or cancel statutory certificates of competency if holders fail to meet their obligations
- Improved integration of contractor safety and health management in the one single safety and health management system (SHMS) at a mine
- Coal mine ventilation officers will have to hold a certificate of competency through examination by the Board of Examiners and minerals ventilation officers will be a statutory position
- A requirement for an SHMS for small opal or gem mines with five or more workers
- Health surveillance of current and former mining workers included in the objects of the Acts, to reflect the importance of identifying occupational health issues early.
“The Department’s mines inspectorate through their investigations have found that one of the causes of an increase in risk is due to contractors not having a full understanding of the SHMS on the mining site,” said Dr. Lynham.
“The Department will continue to look at ways to improve the safety of our workers by ensuring legislation is effective and contemporary and is continuing to consult with stakeholders.
“These improvements reinforce the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to the safety and health of Queensland’s mine workers,” said Dr. Lynham.
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