Queensland Commissioner for Mine Safety and Health Stewart Bell
Queensland Commissioner for Mine Safety and Health Stewart Bell Lauren Reed

Mine safety warning gets backing from industry, govt

A GRIM warning from a mine safety expert - that complacency was creeping through the resources industry - has won backing from both industry and government.

Mine Safety Institute of Australia director Mark Parcell told APN he was concerned there could be an impending disaster on a Queensland mine site as less experienced workers shrugged off important safety measures.

He said a focus on mining more coal as commodity prices fell and tighter job conditions meant workers had things other than safety on their minds.

Queensland Commissioner for Mine Safety and Health Stewart Bell was equally concerned.

He said the state mining industry was among the safest in the world but there had been a string of incidents which could have been catastrophic.

Mr Bell warned that a number of newer recruits or "cleanskins" did not have the proper training to work in such a hazardous job.

"There has also been a significant movement of senior personnel, with less experienced individuals stepping up to fill in the gaps left by experienced mining personnel," he said.

It was only good fortune, he said, that potential disasters had been averted.

"We cannot afford to rest on our laurels with people still being killed and injured in the mining industry," he said.

"It is of critical importance that experienced mining professionals act as mentors to industry new starters."

Queensland Resources Council boss Michael Roche said the industry considered complacency the "number one enemy" of safety.

"Regulation alone cannot manage the actions of unthinking individuals and for significant breaches, anyone responsible for putting the well-being of their fellow workers in jeopardy should be subject to the full weight of the law," Mr Roche said.

"Safety must be part of workplace culture, not a tick the box procedure."

He said he knew of no evidence suggesting a mining disaster was inevitable or overdue.