To investigate the safety and health performance and culture in the Australian Coal Mining Industry

Download files
Access & Terms of Use
open access
Copyright: Parkin, Raymond
ABSTRACT The number of fatalities, serious bodily injuries and high potential injuries is unsatisfactory according to community standards; people are still being killed and seriously injured on mine sites due to human behaviour factors, such as not complying with rules, procedures and management failings. This research aims to conduct an analysis of the Australian Mining Industry safety performance and make comparisons with international mining operations, examine the mine safety environment and determine the effects that culture, risk management, prosecution policies, fly in fly out, fatigue and mental health are having on safety improvement. In this regard, as a major part of this research, a field survey has been conducted in the Qld and NSW coal mining industry. A total of 37 mines participated in manual and electronic surveys and responses were received from over 1200 questionnaires. A statistical comparison of the two surveys has been conducted using the Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test. This research has found that fatigue and awareness issues as well as travel times to work are having a major impact on safety at work, which is particularly evident when employees are working 12 hour shifts. The survey results show that there is a lack of experienced personnel in the industry and that the effective management of contractors continues to cause concern. This research has demonstrated that the current approach to prosecution is counter-productive, as it inhibits thorough safety investigation and creates a defensive rather than a no blame culture. It also prevents the sharing of safety information and heeding the lessons learned. It has been found that there is a lack of training in safety management systems, management influence effects the outcomes of risk assessments, accident investigation would be better without legal people’s involvement and an official inquiry would produce better outcomes if there was no fear of prosecution. This research has demonstrated that the safety performance in the Australian Mining Industry has not improved and may even be deteriorating and that in order to improve safety performance the mining industry needs to adopt the recommendations which have been made regarding culture, prosecution policies, training, risk assessments, shift lengths and fly in fly out operations.
Persistent link to this record
Link to Publisher Version
Link to Open Access Version
Additional Link
Parkin, Raymond
Laurence, David
Knights, Peter
Daily, Chris
Conference Proceedings Editor(s)
Other Contributor(s)
Corporate/Industry Contributor(s)
Publication Year
Resource Type
Degree Type
PhD Doctorate
UNSW Faculty
download public version.pdf 9.11 MB Adobe Portable Document Format
Related dataset(s)