May 21, 2020
Mining executives could face up to 20 years in jail if workers die because of their criminal negligence under new laws passed in State Parliament this week.
Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said establishing industrial manslaughter as an offence in mines and quarries sent a “clear message” to employers and senior officers that the safety and health of their workers was paramount.
“In the past two years we’ve had eight workers die, and a gas explosion in an underground coal mine has put five miners in hospital,” Dr Lynham said.
“It’s not acceptable. Safety on a mine site is everybody’s responsibility.
“But a safety culture needs to be modelled right from the top and creating the offence of industrial manslaughter is to ensure senior company officers do all they can to create a safe mine site.
“These new sanctions bring the resources sector and its workers in line with every other workplace across the State, but with higher financial penalties.”
The new laws also require people in critical statutory safety roles in coal mines to be mine operator employees, not contract workers.
“This provides these critical officers with confidence that they can raise and report safety issues without fear of reprisal or impact on their employment,” Dr Lynham told Parliament.
The new laws include:
The legislation also reduces the financial risk to taxpayers of rehabilitating abandoned mine sites and removes unfair fees for electricity users in south-east Queensland.
The changes also: