Tougher Rules For Underground Coal Mines And Tunnels

  • Max Bradford
Enterprise and Commerce

New safety and health regulations are to be introduced for the underground mining and tunnel construction sectors, Enterprise and Commerce Minister Max Bradford announced today.

"I am very concerned about the recent number of underground mining and tunnel construction related deaths and high level of accidents, coming on top of a historically poor record." Mr Bradford said.

"While some in the industry are adamant that regulations are not needed because the industry is increasingly taking responsibility for its occupational safety and health, others agree the poor history of the industry means new protective measures are necessary."

Mr Bradford said he had instructed OSH (Occupational Safety and Health Service) to urgently work with representatives of the underground coal and tunnel 's sectors to finalise the regulations.

He said the regulations will back up the duties all employers have under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.

"I also expect these minimum regulations to be supplemented by codes of practice developed by industry as soon as this is possible," Mr Bradford said.

"In regard to quarrying and other surface mines, while the Government is not going to require regulations at this point we want to see an improvement in their safety record.

"The industry has made promises about their plans to improve safety and health in these sectors, and OSH will be monitoring the response before reporting back to Government in December 2000. We will then review the need for regulations for quarries and surface mines."

Mr Bradford said he hopes everyone within the extractive industries will use this opportunity to work together to ensure the continued improvement of the occupational safety and health of the sector.