17 August 2011
Increased resources for highly hazardous industries welcomed
CTU today welcomes the announcement by the Minister of Labour of the establishment of the new High Hazards Unit focusing on petroleum production and mining industries, saying a beefed up inspectorate is absolutely necessary as has been evident from the first phase of the inquiry into the explosion at Pike River.
“However, people will be concerned that while this issue is being addressed promptly, the Minister is insisting on waiting for the full inquiry before the other obvious area of risk – regulation – is addressed,” Helen Kelly said.
CTU President, Helen Kelly said “in the first phase of the inquiry it was plain to all except perhaps the Minister that the regulation of mining is inadequate and the removal of standard practices such as check inspectors had been a major error. Having a site inspector for the purpose of enabling inspections to be carried out at a coal operation on behalf of the people at work at the coal operation is a core part of good mining regulations and these inspectors will always be more available, more alert and are completely complementary to Labour Department inspectors.”
The CTU has been calling for improvements to mining regulations and inspection since well before the explosion at Pike River.
“Today’s announcement will help but we can’t wait and risk another disaster when we already know that other measures are also necessary, we need to do everything we can to make sure this does not happen again,” said Helen Kelly.