Underground mine safety - independent audit reports
Following the Pike River tragedy in November 2010, the Government directed the Department of Labour to ensure that a safety audit of all other coals mines in New Zealand was undertaken by an international expert to ensure the mines are operating within current legislative and regulatory environments.
Two Australian experts, Brett Garland and Tim Watson, were engaged by the Department. Mr Garland is the Chief Operating Officer at Caledon Coal, a Queensland mining company, and Mr Watson is a Senior Mines Inspector with the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation in Queensland.
Their reports for each of the four mines are available here online. The mines are Huntly East and Spring Creek both operated by Solid Energy, Roa Mine and Burke’s Creek.
The principal findings are:
- The audit did not reveal that a dangerous situation was imminent at any of the mines.
- The health and safety systems at the smaller mines (Roa and Burke’s Creek) do not reach a level where they are fully compliant with the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.
- There are a number of areas for improvement at each of the four mines to strengthen their health and safety systems.
You can view the Minister of Labour’s media release on the findings on the beehive website.
The Cabinet requested that the Department arrange the audit and the audit reports have been provided to the Minister of Labour. They have also been provided to the four mines and each has been requested to provide the Department with a plan and timetable for the implementation of the recommendations made by the auditors.
The Department of Labour has facilitated the development of the reports, but the reports are the work of, and belong to, the auditors, Brett Garland and Tim Watson.