April 3, 2008
Mine Safety discussion paper must lead to faster action
The government’s discussion paper on mine safety is a good step but the process now needs to move faster says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union.
The paper covers the issue of democratically elected mine safety check inspectors but has taken three years to come to fruition, during which time more miners have lost their lives in mining accidents.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says the union has worked hard to push the issue of check inspectors.
“Having someone on site whose express purpose is to check worksite safety, equipment standards and that the right procedures are followed would make mine workers that much safer.
“Mining is a dirty and dangerous job 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.
“Given the fact that check inspectors worked well in New Zealand until they were removed in 1992 and that they still exist in the UK and Australia we can’t see any reason there need to be delays in reinstating the position now.”
The EPMU represents the majority of New Zealand’s underground miners.