Moranbah town sign. Picture: Tara Miko
Moranbah town sign. Picture: Tara Miko

Mine death laws now in force as a ‘safety net’

TOUGH new mine safety laws are now in force across Queensland, with industrial manslaughter now an offence in the resources sector.

Executives, from yesterday, now face up to 20 years' jail if Queensland resources workers die because of their criminal negligence.

A new independent statutory body - Resources Safety and Health Queensland - also came in force yesterday.

The Brisbane-based safety hub is responsible for regulating safety and health across the state's mines, quarries, petroleum and gas sites, and the explosives supply chain.

The regulator will report directly to Mines Minister Anthony Lynham.

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Mines Minister Anthony Lynham.
Mines Minister Anthony Lynham.

"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 coal mine," Dr Lynham said.

"In the 21st century this is unacceptable.

"I sincerely hope the new industrial manslaughter laws never have to be used and that instead everyone takes full responsibility for their obligations on site to protect the safety and health of our workers."

CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland president Stephen Smyth said the laws were a step in the right direction for the industry.

Harry Bruce’s cartoon.
Harry Bruce’s cartoon.

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"These laws are about properly valuing the lives of Queensland mine workers," Mr Smyth said.

"There is also plenty of work still to do on reforming mine dust laws.

"We need assessment on site by independent doctors, along with better dust monitoring and health protections for workers.

"Overall we need reforms that further reduce the dust levels on site."