Auditor says Tasmanian mine safety in need of urgent review

Mine SafetyTasmanian mine safety regulations are deeply flawed and in need of urgent review according to a report released yesterday by independent auditor, Professor Michael Quinlan.

Professor Quinlan, from the University of New South Wales, described the Tasmanian regulatory framework as “deficient in a number of regards”, adding “It’s imperative critical gaps in existing rules be addressed because most, if not all, are pivotal to preventing fatal accidents,” his report said.

The audit was commissioned last year, however since that time three men have been killed in two separate work accidents at the Mt Lyell mine on Tasmania’s West Coast.

The report found that there was no in the Mining Inspectorate qualified to conduct safety audits on coal mines and that there was only one mine-engineering qualified inspector available full-time for regular inspections, despite a Beaconsfield coronial recommendation for six.

Professor Quinlan described these inadequencies as “disturbing” and a “a very serious gap”.

The report also found that mine inspectors in Tasmania were not paid adequately and that they were overworked.

Professor Quinlan suggested mining companies should cover the cost of appointing another safety inspector.

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