All mine workers should be encouraged to stop work and go home regardless of their employment status for a statewide safety “reset” proposed by an industry group.
The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union’s (CFMEU’s) mining and energy division in Queensland is ramping up its push for production to be stopped at all mines across the Sunshine State.
‘Stand up, speak out, go home’
CFMEU is now asking all Queensland coal mines to encourage their staff to “stand up, speak out and go home — no matter what their employment status” to address the “safety crisis” in the industry.
“We are calling for all Queensland coal mines to stop production for a minimum of 24 hours as a show of respect, and for serious reflections to occur,” CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland District President Stephen Smyth said in a public statement. “A suspension of production would be opportunity for the State Government, mining companies and workers to reset the industry’s safety culture and practices.”
Protect workers who raise safety concerns
CFMEU is asking all mining company CEOs to sign off on new policies that protect workers who raise safety concerns from reprisal. The union is also requesting the introduction of industrial manslaughter laws, unannounced industry safety and health representative inspections at all mines, and greater powers for the industry regulator.
“Every worker should return home safely at the end of their shift,” Smyth said. “There needs to be an urgent industry reset.”
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The remarks come ahead of a July 10 safety forum in Brisbane between the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, senior mining executives, industry groups and unions. The forum aims to implement better short- and long-term safety protocols at mine sites according to News Limited.
Parliamentary inquiry into mine safety proposed
Although two independent reviews have been ordered into coal mine fatalities since 2000 and current health and safety legislation, State Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington is also asking for a parliamentary inquiry into improving mining sector safety that examines work culture.
“The reason why I have called a parliamentary inquiry is to get to the bottom of each and every one of these issues, but also to ensure if there is a culture problem in the industry that it’s looked into,” Frecklington told the Australian Associated Press.