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The Queensland mining industry under a microscope

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Queensland mine workers are looking out for each other in the workplace, but incident reporting systems could be improved, a new study finds.

The state of safety reporting culture in Queensland’s mining industry is a recent report commissioned by the Resources Safety and Health Commissioner.

Resources Safety and Health Interim Commissioner Andrew Clough said the report was a milestone for the Queensland mining industry and was the first time an industry-wide survey of the safety reporting culture of the industry had been conducted.

Survey responses were collected from 7821 Queensland mine workers, comprising 68 per cent frontline employees, 20 per cent frontline leaders, and eight per cent senior leadership.

The majority of responses came from workers in the coal industry, but also included the mineral and quarrying sectors.

Strengths
The report showed an all-round strong culture of safety in the Queensland mining industry, with 93 per cent of participants reporting that teams always and usually look out for each other and support each other to work safely.

“The survey results showed that one of the industry’s top strength areas was team support for safety which says that Queensland’s mine workers look out for each other on the job, stop work if they believe it is unsafe, and perform work safely without taking shortcuts,” Clough said.

“Mine workers also understand and follow safety standards and procedures, understand the controls put in place to prevent incidents, and understand their obligations to report near misses and high potential incidents.

“These strength areas extended to senior leadership in the industry with the survey indicating senior leaders typically encouraged workers to report safety concerns and that when incidents are reported they investigate.”

Opportunity areas
According to the study, 32 per cent of participants found that senior leaders did not provide enough feedback on safety concerns. Senior leaders who provide regular feedback on safety concerns help to improve worker confidence in reporting.

Simplifying reporting processes can make it easier and clearer for workers to report high potential incidents and hazards, as 28 per cent of participants found the reporting process complex, unclear, and/or time-consuming.

Improving job planning around timeframes and resources can allow workers to focus on

performing work safely, as 29 per cent of participants found that timeframes and resources are not adequate to perform work safely.

“The report sets a benchmark for the industry to measure its safety reporting culture against in the future,” Clough said.

“It establishes a baseline of the safety reporting behaviours exhibited at mine and quarry sites and identifies the key opportunities and barriers to achieving a responsive and effective safety reporting culture in the coal mining, mineral mining and quarrying industries.”

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