Tips and rumours

Nov 12, 2012

Tips and rumours

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  1. Greg Dalliston

    Re “coal mine concerns” I don’t know which mine you worked at but I have been a coal miner in Queensland since 1974 and CFMEU District Union Inspector for almost 20 years in Queensland. During that time I have known most of the NSW District Check Inspectors who would have been doing the mine inspections back in the 1980s and I take insult to the part you “seem to recall” about mines Inspectors and the unions going winery and morning tea. A large number of those union Inspectors, who served proudly and at times defiantly against Managers and Government in protecting miners safety and health, have unfortunately passed away but it would be unjust not to defend how they conducted their inspections.
    “would be met by a delegation of management and unions and off to the office for morning tea, then a short drive around the open cut and perhaps a duck in to the underground, then the most important part of the day: the whole group lunch at a winery”
    Yes there was always a big push for everything to be made just right when an Inspector was visiting, even changing the airflow from panel to panel as they went into the different areas of the mine.
    I also agree in the 70’s and early 80s the stone dusting was done in earnest just before an Inspector visited, but that dusting was so that the flammable levels of coal dust would not assist in propagating an explosion (making the explosion stronger force and travel further in the mine).
    We always knew when they were coming, the underground mine would cease production while they sprayed gypsum on the walls to give it the pretence of looking as if their dust suppression system was up to standard. That dust caused silicosis.

    The dust used to mitigate and explosion especially of the last 40 years been manufactured to a standard so as not to cause any health concerns. Silicosis is caused by breathing in silica dust which may be produced by cutting the coal seam if it contains silica. There have not been any new cases in the coal mining industry (NSW or QLD) for almost 50 years of silicosis or Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, but with some of the current longwall practices that may not stay that way.
    As far as current inspections of mines are concerned the CFMEU safety representatives conduct inspections and currently have the power to stop unsafe work practices ( this may change under the proposed “harmonisation “ of mining safety legislation).
    While we as a union agree that the safety statistics have gone up over the last few years , they are nowhere near those of the past 50 years,.
    The old saying the stronger the union the safer the mine still stands!

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