02/09/2009 - 15:34

State to overhaul mine safety system

02/09/2009 - 15:34

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The state government will provide nearly $8 million of additional funds and employ a further 72 people to boost WA's Resources Safety Division as the state's mining death toll creeps up.

The state government will provide nearly $8 million of additional funds and employ a further 72 people to boost WA's Resources Safety Division as the state's mining death toll creeps up.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore today announced it will implement a new regulatory framework for resources safety that will incorporate key recommendations from the Kenner report.

The announcement comes after a 30 year old man was killed at Alcoa's Wagerup refinery early this morning. The man was contracted with TransPacific Industrial Solutions.

The Department of Mines and Petroleum is investigating the incident.

The latest incident brings the state's mining death toll this year to six.

"The recent spike in mine site-related fatalities is unacceptable and has contributed to the need for urgent action," Mr Moore said.

He said key components of an overhaul of the state's mine safety system have already been approved by the state cabinet earlier this week and funding approval was received by treasury yesterday.

Mr Moore said he had requested $7.95 million in extra funding to assist a new risk and evidence-based safety management scheme in the first six months of operation.

Cabinet has also approved up to an extra 37 full-time staff positions in the same time period, and a further 35 full-time positions in the following 12 months.

Mr Moore said it was likely to take two years to make the necessary legislative and regulatory changes and establish the inspectorate.

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy and Association of Mining and Exploration Companies have welcomed the government's announcement while the Australian Manufacturing Worker's Union said money and new regulations alone won't change the culture on mine sites.

The AMWU has called on the state government to urgently hold a "safety summit" with all stakeholders to make mines safer.

"It's time for the State Government to start working cooperatively with Unions and industry so that we can put a plan in place to stop any further deaths on WA mine sites," AMWU state secretary Steve McCartney said.

The state opposition today welcomed the government's safety overhaul and also renewed its call for the Barnett government to establish an initiative to support partners and children of workers killed in workplace accidents.

 

 

 

Mr Moore's announcement is below:

 

 

Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore today announced major changes to mine safety in Western Australia.

Mr Moore said the State Government would overhaul the safety system designed to protect workers in WA's mining industry in order to improve a system that was clearly not working to the State Government's expectations.

"The recent spike in mine site-related fatalities is unacceptable and has contributed to the need for urgent action," he said.

After considering submissions from the Department of Mines and Petroleum, the Government has decided to implement a new regulatory framework for resources safety, incorporating key recommendations from the Kenner Report.

"This is a major shake-up of mine safety in the State," the Minister said.

Key components of the plan, which was approved by State Cabinet on Monday and gained final funding approval from Treasury today, include:

- Significant additional resources for the Resources Safety Division of the DMP, including more money to increase compliance activities by DMP inspectors

- An industry cost recovery model the details of which will be discussed with industry. New South Wales and Queensland are States which have already adopted cost recovery models

- A new approach to safety management based on evidence and risk, and focused on reducing the likelihood of a serious incident.

The introduction of a cost recovery regime will provide the funding necessary for an appropriately resourced safety regulator.

In the first six months of operation, next year, it is anticipated that additional funding of $7.95million will be available.

State Cabinet has also approved up to an extra 37 full time staff positions available in the same six-month period with up to an additional 35 full time positions in the 12 months following.

Mr Moore envisaged it would take about two years, with the co-operation of industry, to make the necessary legislative and regulatory changes and to establish the inspectorate.

"I urge the Opposition and the union movement, to support the State Government's plan to fix the problem," he said.

"I strongly believe that when this new system is in place, WA will have a world's best practice regulatory framework.

"It will take time to achieve, but with the co-operation of industry and workers, we can set in place a robust, flexible and effective system that will enhance safety in this vital sector of the State's workforce," he said.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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