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Underground coal mining safer as check inspectors return

28 October 2014

Media Release

Underground coal mining gets safer with return of check inspectors

Working underground got a lot safer this week with the appointment of Industry Health and Safety Representative Stephen Woods.

“This is the first time in 22 years that miners will have a worker-elected check inspector on the job,” says Ged O’Connell, EPMU assistant national secretary.

The IHSR role was created by legislation following the Pike River disaster and Royal Commission. IHSRs are empowered to independently inspect mines and stop work if there is a risk of serious harm to anyone involved in a mining operation.

“Because of the deregulation of the mining industry, we don’t have people in New Zealand with the skills and training to do the job yet,” says Ged O’Connell. “We’re training people up right now, but in the meantime it’s important to have someone in the role.

“Stephen brings a huge depth of experience from his work in Queensland mining. He’ll be a great asset to the underground coal mining industry and play a pivotal role in keeping miners safe.”

Stephen Woods will join Worksafe inspectors and company mine managers on inspection tours in Huntly on Wednesday and on the West Coast on Thursday and Friday.


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