Discussions about safety in the mining sector continue with recent debate in the Queensland Parliament but change continues to be at a slow pace and in a manner that reflects “business as usual” rather than being innovative and establishing a sound base for business to grow, and grow safely.
On 31 October 2018, the Queensland Government got tough on safety in its mining and resources sector. But how tough is tough? A press statement says that
“Parliament today backed maximum penalties close to $4 million for mining companies that fail to keep their workers safe. As well, mines inspectors will be able to hit mine operators with tough new fines of up to $130,550 without taking them to court.”
For those of us who do not have $4 million to cover prosecutions over occupational health and safety (OHS) breaches this may indeed sound “tough” but recent inquiries and reviews into OHS enforcement question whether financial penalties are the most effective way of improving workplace health and safety.
Western Australia’s Parliament heard more about the State’s investigation into work-related mental health on June 26 2018.
One of the most rewarding sources of occupational health and safety (OHS) information is the literature review undertaken by, usually, university researchers. It is rewarding because someone else has done most of the reading for you and the spread of resources can be massive and/or global. But, there can also be missed opportunities from taking a narrow scope and from excluding some non-peer-reviewed analysis. One of these involves a systematic review of lost-time injuries in the global mining industry.
Today the Medical Journal of Australia released a media statement entitled:
“FIFO workers’ psychological distress “alarming””
What is more alarming is that the levels of psychological distress have remained high even though there have been inquiries into the mental health of Fly-In Fly-Out workers in Western Australia and Queensland since 2014!!
Western Australian research undertaken by