In a PerthNow yesterday it was reported that WA miners are treating injuries themselves in the workplace with first aid kits because they are afraid of losing their jobs. According to the report there is a strong “culture of cover ups” in the WA mines intended to maintain profits and production at full speed.
When Richard Sellars, the Department of Mines and Petroleum Director General was asked by the reporters from The Sunday Times PerthNow reporter about the first aid kits claim he responded that his inspectors would investigate.
He also said that his inspectors often conducted spontaneous inspections and audits, that mining safety has been overhauled and that the mines in WA are “among the safest in the world”.
WorkSafe WA has also launched an investigation based on another claim from a whistleblower that at Barrow Island two thirds of the fire extinguishers are outside their service date and a 280 tonne cranes is more than 300 hours overdue for a service.
According to the recent figures released by Safe Work Australia WA mines have three times more worker fatalities than the other Australian states, with more than 110,000 workers mining is the third most dangerous occupation behind agriculture and construction.
Jon Ford, the Opposition mines spokesperson claimed that injured workers were sent home and had to see private doctors meaning that injuries were not included in the workplace statistics and workers not in a position to claim workers compensation assistance.
Gary Wood, the CFMEU secretary said that there were some companies that discouraged the reporting of injuries by workers and that inspectors to the mines were controlled when visiting sites.