Too many Western Australian mining fatalities – WA government lays down the law.
WA government steps in to fix mining safety induction flaws
Western Australia has a shocking mining safety record. In 2014 alone there have been 5 fatalities and numerous near misses and a string of reported accidents.
In 2014 alone, there were five recorded fatalities in the Western Australian resource sector – which is horrendous when you think about it.
12 months prior, there were no fatal accidents on record so we can see there are some real issues that need to be addressed.
What`s been done about this?
Thankfully, the West Australian government have decided enough is enough and mining training and safety induction is once again under the spotlight.
When you consider the Queensland mining industry, the high levels of safety standards that exist have saved countless lives over the years.
Western Australia on the other hand, seems to have almost no safety induction training at all. The MARCSTA training course was all that new workers were offrered before they entered the mining industry. Safety training standards were quite low in terms of the duration of the mining safety training course.
After a few hours in the classroom, anyone who attended could walk onto a production mine site and start working amongst heavy machinery and even heavier vehicles such as haul trucks and excavators.
The latest news out of WA and the intention of the W.A. Department of Mines and Petroleum to give the green light to update mining safety legislation, is a very positive move for the industry.
It’s also quite timely that this has come about because there’s also been a lot of new reports in the media about mental health in mining. Workers are subjected to long hours and long periods away from home and their families.
“an epidemic of anxiety and depression in the industry”
This has created an epidemic of anxiety and depression in the industry, which, if left unchecked, can lead to fatigue and lack of concentration, the combination of which is the perfect recipe for accidents to occur.
Not only should the Western Australian mining industry review and update its mining induction safety training guidelines, it ought to look at incorporating some form of mental health guidelines into the training.
When you think about it, this makes total sense doesn`t it?
Could anxiety and depression contribute to mining accidents?
The real question here is what and when is WA addressing their safety training mandate and will it raise the standards of safety and risk awareness in the long term.
It seems highly likely this will happen with the WA government`s Ministerial Advisory Panel on Safety Legislation Reform being established. This is a collaborative effort between the mining sector, the unions and government.
“improve the safety of all resource workers”
Speaking on the development of the legislation, WA’s DMP Resources Safety Division executive director Simon Ridge, said the new legislation will help improve the safety of all resource workers in Western Australia.
The overhaul of the existing Mines Safety and Inspection Act l is well overdue. Mining has come a long way since the existing legislation was introduced in 1994.
You may not be aware of this however: their new legislation will be an amalgam of the National Mine Safety Framework and Work Health and Safety legislation. Apparently this new legislation is really to focus more on the subject of risk management.
Further education around mining hazards essential
The focus for every mining company should be to educate its employees on the hazards that exist on a mine site. Mitigating risk in the mining sector is one of the primary objectives of every mine manager and it’s about time WA pulled itself in line with other states in Australia. This is especially so when Queensland’s Standard 11 mining induction program has set the global benchmark for mining safety induction training for new and existing workers.
The Western Australian mining safety training legislation will save many workers from being exposed to dangerous situation on a mine. The industry as a whole should be really looking at a national training and education system that covers every mine site across the country.
It doesn’t make sense that each state in Australia can create its own version of a mining safety training and induction framework to protect the lives of workers employed within its boundaries.
Surely it is time for a national standard of mining safety qualification?