The Queensland Mines Inspectorate’s past handling of HPIs fell short of expectations, an inquiry report has found.
The Queensland Mines Inspectorate’s past handling of HPIs fell short of expectations, an inquiry report has found.

Bungled handling of potential safety incidents: mine report

The Queensland Mines Inspectorate has bungled its handling of high potential incidents in the past because of ineffective information processing and management.

This was one of the findings outlined in part one of the Queensland Coal Mining Board of Inquiry's report, which focused on the initial tranche of public hearings held in August.

These hearings explored various high potential incidents in Central Queensland coal mines, the Mines Inspectorate, the role of the industry and site safety and health representatives and how the management structure and employment arrangements of the mining companies may impact mine safety.

The report said: "There have been some inefficiencies in the past in the inspectorate's management of HPIs, particularly in the areas of information processing and management."

A 'high potential incident' refers to an incident which could have caused a serious adverse effect on safety and health.

The entry to Grosvenor Mine, near Moranbah. Picture: Daryl Wright
The entry to Grosvenor Mine, near Moranbah. Picture: Daryl Wright

The report went on to state the issue had already been addressed, as 19 improvements in HPI management had either already been made, or were shortly to be made, by the inspectorate.

"At the time of the occurrence of the HPIs in this chapter, the inspectorate's systems for management of HPIs needed improvement," it read.

"Nonetheless, the inspectorate's statutory function was performed, and there was no adverse consequence for safety from the manner of investigation with respect to the HPIs at these three mines."

The report also found mines inspectors faced a 'considerable workload', including a high volume of HPI notifications.

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Inside Anglo American's Grosvenor Coal Mine near Moranbah, the scene of a major explosion. Picture: Youtube
Inside Anglo American's Grosvenor Coal Mine near Moranbah, the scene of a major explosion. Picture: Youtube

The document said the inspectorate had a proper appreciation of the significance of methane HPIs in underground coal mines.

A Resources Safety and Health Queensland spokeswoman said it welcomed part one of the Queensland Coal Mining Board of Inquiry's report.

"RSHQ continues to participate cooperatively in the board's proceedings, which are ongoing," she said.

Former Mines Minister Anthony Lynham announced the Coal Mining Board of Inquiry in the wake of the Grosvenor mine disaster, which left five workers with horrific burns injuries.

The board previously announced public hearings into Grosvenor mine would be adjourned to next year.

 

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