An independent body is to be set up to protect the safety and health of Queensland’s 70,000-plus resources sector workers.

Queensland Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham last week introduced legislation to Parliament to establish an independent safety and health regulator statutory body, Resources Safety and Health Queensland.

The new body, funded by a levy on resources companies, will include already-independent mining inspectors as well as excising safety and health functions currently within the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy.

“This separates the job of protecting the workers from the job of growing and facilitating mining and exploration projects and the resources sector as a whole,” Dr Lynham said.

Under the new legislation, RSHQ will:

  • include Queensland’s mines, explosives and petroleum and gas inspectors, the Safety in Mines Testing and Research Station at Redbank near Ipswich and the coal mine workers’ health scheme that covers mine dust lung diseases, including black lung.
  • will report directly to the Minister instead of through a department.
  • be subject to monitor and review by a separate, independent commissioner for mining and quarrying, petroleum and gas, and explosives.

Dr Lynham said the establishment of the independent body flows from the recommendations of the Parliamentary Select Committee into coal workers’ pneumoconiosis.

The committee made 68 recommendations, all of which the government supported or supported in principle.

It also follows Dr Lynham address to the Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference that mining and quarry operators that fail to ensure all coal mine workers participate in the state’s safety reset will be named and shamed in Parliament.

Dr Lynham told regional Parliament in Townsville last week that 96 per cent of the Queenslanders who work in the state’s mines and large quarries had attended safety reset sessions.