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Head of Resources Council urges mine employees to take safety concerns ‘To the top’

mine safetyThe head of Queensland’s Resources Council (QRC), Michael Roche, is urging mine employees to make their safety concerns known to supervisors and ‘take it to the top’ if necessary.

The plea comes in the wake of 16 work related deaths in the Australian resources industry in the first six months of this year, with two of those fatalities recorded in Queensland.

Mr Roche said at a recent meeting the Board of the QRC devoted a large part of its agenda to sector safety performance and improvement.

‘The clear message from the Board is that there is no room for complacency in safety performance, regardless of the operating circumstances facing Queensland resource companies,’ said QRC Chief Executive Michael Roche.

‘In light of recent claims in the media that mine managers are putting productivity ahead of safety, the Board felt that it should reiterate its unswerving commitment to its workforce.

‘Employees need to know that they enjoy the full support of the sector’s most senior executives in raising legitimate safety concerns without fear of reprisal.

‘Legislative protection from reprisal exists under industry-specific and other more generally applicable laws in Queensland.

‘Our safety laws ensure that confidential complaints reach the ears of the state government’s Mines Inspectorate without any risk of reprisal.’

‘The Board extends its deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those employees,’ Mr Roche said.

Next weekend, more than 500 delegates representing industry, trade unions and regulators will converge on Townsville for the 2014 Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference.

Appropriately, the theme of this year’s conference is ‘Improving health and safety in challenging times’.

Mr Roche said that there was no simple remedy evident from investigations into recent fatalities in Queensland.

‘The bottom line is that every employee must keep their personal safety and that of their co-workers top of mind, all the time,’ he said.