Safety legislation to support mine workers in Qld
New Queensland laws will see greater penalties imposed on mine operators who do not keep their workers safe.
The legislation will offer civil penalties of up to $126,150 if mining companies fail to meet their safety obligations.
In addition, under the changes to the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 and the Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999, the mines inspectorate will have more powers to take direct action.
The Mines Legislation (Resources Safety) Amendment Bill proposes new powers for the chief executive to suspend or cancel individuals’ statutory certificates of competency and cite senior executive notices if they fail to meet their safety and health obligations.
This means that those officers would not be able to occupy statutory positions at Queensland mine sites. It also adds to the mines inspectorate’s current powers to audit or prosecute an operator or shut down a mine.
“This Bill is needed to ensure mine workers are supported by legislation that is effective and contemporary,” said Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham.
“Every worker has the right to go to work expecting to go home safely to their family at the end of the day and this must hold true for workers in Queensland mines.”
The Bill also proposes:
- higher levels of competency for the statutory position of ventilation officer at underground coalmines;
- new requirements for ventilation officers at underground mineral mines;
- ongoing statutory certificates to maintain high standards of professional competence throughout their careers;
- upgrades to safety and health at mines with 11 or fewer workers;
- better protection for contract mine workers.
“Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis is a timely reminder that there is no place for complacency in worker safety and health,” Lynham said.
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