Tough mine safety laws a safety net for resources sector

Friday, 03 July, 2020

Tough mine safety laws a safety net for resources sector

Australia’s toughest mine safety laws have come into effect, with executives facing up to 20 years’ jail if Queensland resources sector workers die because of their criminal negligence. Industrial manslaughter has become an offence in Queensland’s resources sector, to better protect the state’s 66,000 sector workers. An independent resources safety and health authority has also been established.

“Sadly eight workers have died on the job in our mines and quarries in the past two years and just in May this year five miners were seriously injured at an underground coalmine. In the 21st century, this is unacceptable,” said Dr Anthony Lynham, Mines Minister.

A new independent statutory body, Resources Safety and Health Queensland, has also been established, to regulate safety and health across the state’s mines, quarries, petroleum and gas sites, and the explosives supply chain. The regulator will report directly to the Minister.

“I sincerely hope the new industrial manslaughter laws never have to be used and that instead everyone takes full responsibility for their obligations onsite to protect the safety and health of our workers. Health and safety responsibility resides with everyone, from executives in head office to workers on site,” Lynham said.

The changes complement the mine safety and health reforms implemented by the Palaszczuk government, such as better detection and prevention of black lung and other mine dust diseases, and an improved safety net for affected workers. The reforms also include increased maximum penalties for offences up to $4 million and powers for the regulator to issue fines without going to court.

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