Safety message from the State Mining Engineer

State Mining Engineer Andrew Chaplyn highlights the importance of safety in the mining industry during the festive season and in the year ahead.
Date: Thursday, 17 December 2015

For many, the festive season is a time to reflect on the past and contemplate the future.

Sadly for some connected to Western Australia’s mining industry, those reflections will focus on the loss of loved ones.

Six people have been killed whilst at work in the State’s mining industry this year.

It is unacceptable for even one person to be killed while working, let alone six. We can and should do better. The highest priority on mining operations should be safe systems of work and applying appropriate risk management, which help build resilient safety cultures.

For companies looking at the bottom line, it is vital to remember that the costs of not building safety into the way you do business are far higher than any perceived budget savings. This is not just in dollars and cents, but in lives lost and changed forever.

With only weeks before a new year begins we must, as an industry, learn from these tragedies and commit to making safety our ultimate priority.

This means staying focussed on safety at all times - whether at a company level or an individual level.

It is easy to lose focus, particularly if you are performing a task you have done a hundred times before. But one momentary lapse can lead to tragedy.

So regardless of how many times you have performed a task, take a minute to think about how you can do it safely.

Think about the hazards and how they will be controlled so that you can do your work safely. If you see something that’s unsafe, report it.

Do it not only to protect yourself and your workmates, but also to protect family and friends from having to confront the worst possible news - that they have lost a loved one.

We can all make a difference and improve safety by ensuring each and every person involved in the mining industry takes their safety responsibilities seriously - whether you are an executive, a supervisor, a worker or a regulator.

I wish everyone involved in Western Australia’s mining industry a happy, enjoyable and, most importantly, safe festive season and New Year.