November 8, 2007
EPMU calls for greater mine safety
Mine check inspectors are a crucial part of mine safety and should be provided for in any new mining regulations, says the union that represents nearly all of New Zealand’s coal miners.
The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union’s call follows recent news that mining widow Valma McGowan plans to campaign for changes to mining regulations and labour law following the death of her husband Robert McGowan at the Black Reef mine last year.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says the use of dedicated mine check inspectors would be a significant step forward for mining safety.
“Having someone onsite whose express purpose is to check worksite safety, equipment standards and that the right procedures are followed, and who has the confidence of the miners would make mining that much safer.
“Mining remains one of the most dangerous jobs and it’s about teamwork and trust. Often miners’ lives are in the hands of their workmates and that’s why in the past check inspectors have been elected by their workmates.
“The idea of check inspectors isn’t a new one. Until 1992 these positions were required by regulation and they still exist in the UK and Australia as a proven way of significantly increasing worker safety.”
Little will be meeting with Minister of Labour Trevor Mallard to discuss the issue.