Minerals Health Safety Council (MinEx) Endorses Report
MinEx Health & Safety Council
8 November 2012
Minerals Health And Safety Council (MinEx) Endorses Commission Report
The industry body concerned with the Health and Safety of the New Zealand minerals sector has endorsed the recommendations made by the Royal Commissions on the Pike River Mine disaster.
MinEx chairman Dene Dickson says, “The Pike River Mine disaster was a tragedy that must not be allowed to happen again. MinEx looks forward to working with the Government on the implementation of measures to ensure the catastrophe that occurred at Pike River is never repeated.”
Dickson agrees with the Royal Commission finding that there is an urgent need for an effective regulatory framework for underground coal mining.
“In 2008 we made submissions to Government on the need for a review of current mining regulations but our recommendations were not taken up.” Dickson says. “This is one of many examples when the need for reform has been recognised for some time, but change has taken too long. This must not happen in this instance.”
MinEx is pleased with the recommendation that the development of a new framework should be a collaborative exercise involving a task force of health and safety experts and representatives of Government, industry and mining employees. It is important that these key parties are all involved. “This is a real opportunity to merge the interests of all key stakeholders in the achievement of an effective health and safety system for our industry that we can all have confidence in,” Dickson said.
Dickson says MinEx has been working with the staff of the department’s High Hazard Unit for several months on the improvement of current MinEx Codes of Practice and the development of new ones and he sees the Commission’s recommendations as endorsing and extending the scope of this approach.
MinEx also welcomes recommendations aimed at improving worker participation. “The issue of check inspectors has been a difficult one for industry,” Dickson notes. “Employer and union representatives on MinEx have traditionally disagreed over the matter of check inspectors. We now have an opportunity to revisit the issue and discuss how we can make it work,” says Dickson.
The recommendation for a Crown agency to be established to administer the New Zealand Health and Safety system has ramifications for all New Zealand industries. Dickson says that the need for improvement in workplace health and safety is a vital issue for New Zealand and agrees that a Crown agency with a single focus on health and safety improvement, and accountable directly to a minister is critical.
MinEx is an industry led association concerned with health and safety in the New Zealand minerals sector. Its main purpose is to assist the minerals industry to improve its health and safety performance and provide centralised industry representation in matters relating to health and safety.
The association was established in 2005 after it became apparent that an industry code of practice was necessary to ensure sufficient health and safety standards were met in the minerals sector. The first underground and surface Codes of Practice were released in 2008, along with 12 Guidelines on good health and safety practice.
MinEx makes formal submissions to the Government on behalf of the industry. It has established a New Zealand database of quarterly incident statistics and distributes weekly health and safety incident reports from NZ and overseas.