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The state of safety reporting culture in Queensland’s mining industry

26 March 2024

Queensland’s mine workers are encouraged to report their safety concerns and usually do so, but some barriers to reporting do exist according to the results of an industry-wide survey released today.

The state of safety reporting culture in the Queensland mining industry cover

The survey responses from more than 7500 mine workers were outlined in The state of safety reporting culture in Queensland’s mining industry report which was launched by the Minister for Resources and Critical Minerals Scott Stewart at Coronado Global Resources Curragh mine in the Bowen Basin.

Interim Commissioner for Resources Safety and Health Andrew Clough said the survey aimed to identify strength and opportunity areas in Queensland’s mining industry to achieve a strong safety reporting culture.

“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," Andrew 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.”

Andrew said the results for frontline leaders and supervisors showed they typically encouraged mine workers to take appropriate action if they felt unsafe and to report near misses, high potential incidents and hazards.

“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,” he said.

Opportunity areas for improvements identified in the report included making reporting systems clearer and easier to use, better recognition of positive safety behaviours, and better involvement of frontline workers in safety initiatives.

Suggestions for senior leaders included providing more timely feedback to workers about safety concerns and increasing interaction and visibility with frontline workers to inspire a more positive safety culture.

Andrew said The state of safety reporting culture in Queensland’s mining industry report, which was co-authored by Sentis, was a milestone report 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.

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

The report makes a number of recommendations for industry to target for further research and continuous improvement.

The survey was conducted by the Commissioner for Resources Safety and Health in cooperation with the Coal Mining Safety and Health Advisory Committee and the Mining Safety and Health Advisory Committee. Independent data analysis and validation was conducted by Sentis.

It was driven by the Queensland Coal Mining Board of Inquiry finding that, "an extensive study undertaken by CMSHAC on reporting culture in coal mines would benefit the industry in Queensland” (Finding 91) and its recommendation that, “as part of carrying out its functions under section 76A of the Act, CMSHAC considers including within its 5-year Strategic Plan activities that will facilitate improvements in the reporting culture in Queensland coal mines” (Recommendation 28).

The survey is available from the Commissioner for Resources Safety and Health’s website.

Last updated: 26 Mar 2024