Mining union warns against mine safety complacency

QUEENSLAND'S most influential mine union has warned that fewer fatalities on sites could lead to government complacency when it comes to regulation.

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union's state branch leapt on the report released on Friday by the Department of Mines which highlighted a lower number of fatalities and less severity in many of the site injuries

However, it also found the number of injuries increased from 851 in 2010-11 to 1047 in the 2011-12 financial year.

Queensland is widely regarded as having one of the safest mining industries in the world, but CFMEU district president Stephen Smyth warned the government was not being strong on safety.

"The Queensland mining industry would love to remove the right of union safety inspectors to stop production when they see safety breaches at the coal face," Mr Smyth said.

In the 2011-12 financial year, Queensland Government staff did 1573 inspectors of mine sites and 56 audits.

They also conducted 191 investigations of mine accidents and incidents and delivered 375 directives and 1444 substandard condition or practice notices to mines.

Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps rejected the union claims these figures would be used as an excuse to weaken safety standards in Queensland Mines.

He said the state would continue the same three-pronged approach to mine safety, with companies, mines inspectors and unions all working together.

"As Minister, I take offence to the unions suggestion that the State Government and Mine Safety Inspectorate Commissioners would try to make political mileage out of such an important issue.

"The safety of mining workers will come first under a Newman government and I'd ask the CFMEU to stop its scaremongering on this issue. There have been no cuts to mine safety regulation."

Topics:  cfmeu mine safety mining regulation

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