Mining workers union declares "safety crisis" after string of incidents in 6 months

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-08 11:03:48|Editor: Xiaoxia
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SYDNEY, July 8 (Xinhua) -- Although the resources sector is the backbone of Australia's robust economy, a string of recent deaths has led to calls for a "safety reset."

With a fourth death in just six months tragically occurring in the State of Queensland at the Baralaba North coal mine in the Bowen Basin on Sunday, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) Queensland mining and energy president Steve Smyth said the mining industry should be shut down for at least 24 hours "so that some serious reflection can occur," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Sunday.

"It's terrible, we're sick of it... it's a safety crisis."

"We've been saying there needs to be a major safety reset."

While the exact details of the 27-year-old man's remain unclear, according to local media reports, it was the second major incident that occurred in just six hours in the state.

On Sunday morning, a man in his 50's working at the Collinsville open-cut coal mine was taken to hospital with back and spinal injuries after falling.

Back in June, a wall collapse killed a man operating a digger at the Middlemount open-cut coal mine, northwest of Rockhampton.

Prior to that in February, a grader driver died in a collision at an underground mine in Moranbah and a man also lost his life when his bulldozer rolled on New Year's Eve at a mine near Dysart.

Queensland Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said he is "extremely distressed and concerned" by the number of recent deaths in the industry.

"The loss of a life in any workplace at any time is not acceptable," he said.

"Families should be able to expect that when their loved ones depart for work that they return safe."

"I will be following up on discussions held last week by meeting with representatives of the mining industry ... as a matter of urgency."

Echoing these sentiments, Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said "The resources sector has made constant improvements in its safety record over the last 20 years, but we cannot become complacent."