Mine operators who fail to keep their workers safe face new penalties of up to $126,150 under legislation recently introduced into Queensland’s parliament.
The Mines Legislation (Resources Safety) Amendment Bill would further deliver on the government’s commitment to continuously improve mine safety and health, said Queensland Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Anthony Lynham.
“This legislation will provide civil penalties of up to $126,150 if mining companies fail to meet their safety and health obligations to mine workers,” Minister Lynham said.
“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.”
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 would have more powers to take direct action, said Minister Lynham.
The Bill proposes new powers to suspend or cancel individuals’ statutory certificates of competency and site 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.
Minister Lynham said this added to the mines inspectorate’s current powers to audit or prosecute an operator or shut down a mine, while the Bill also proposes:
- higher levels of competency for the statutory position of ventilation officer at underground coal mines
- 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,” Minister Lynham said.
“This Bill is needed to ensure mine workers are supported by legislation that is effective and contemporary.”