A mine safety rep says visits by the Mines Inspectorate were on occasion announced days ahead of time.
A mine safety rep says visits by the Mines Inspectorate were on occasion announced days ahead of time.

Mines warned before ‘unannounced’ safety visits

MINE sites are being told when an unannounced visit from the Mines Inspectorate will be happening.

Site safety and health representatives are given two to three days' - sometimes a week's - notice of upcoming Mines Inspectorate visits that are documented as unannounced inspections.

Oaky North SSHR Joe Barber, in his sworn affidavit to the inquiry listed a number of items he believed could promote a culture of safety within the coal mining sector.

High on the list was: "I believe there should be unannounced inspections conducted by both the ISHRs and the Inspectorate".

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But it was revealed under questioning from Resource Safety and Health Queensland barrister Deborah Holliday that Mr Barber was unaware he been part of unannounced inspectorate inspections.

"Is it the case that the reason why you don't know whether an inspection is announced or unannounced is because the mine tells you about the fact that the inspection is going to happen on the morning or something of that nature?" Ms Holliday asked.

"Mostly we would get to know maybe two days, three days prior, 'such and such inspector will be here on Wednesday', 'I will be making an inspection next Wednesday week', or something, and I wasn't sure I - generally we are notified," Mr Barber answered.

He said he was aware the inspectorate had the power to conduct unannounced inspections at the mine, but that it "hasn't been in for that long".


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"When you say 'that long', are you aware that you've actually been part of unannounced inspections at the mine conducted by the inspectorate?" Ms Holliday asked.

"I was not aware, no," Mr Barber replied, despite his name being on mine record entries of a number of inspectorate visits.

He said in relation to at least one of the visits Mr Barber would have been notified by the mine the morning the inspectorate arrived onsite.

The inquiry continues.