Deaths in the mining industry have spiked alarmingly over the past financial year.
Injury figures published by Safe Work Australia have shown a downward trend in the number of deaths in the mining industry over ten years, with one exception.
In financial year 2013-14 the Australian mining industry has seen 17 people fall in the line of duty, the victims of tragic accidents.
This led to a rate of approximately 15.7 deaths per 100,000 workers, the highest industry fatality rate seen since 2005-06 during the early days of the mining boom.
In 2005-06 Australia saw 14 deaths and a rate of 14.5 per 100,000 workers.
In the preceding year 2012-14 there were no deaths recorded, an apparent success for the wide-ranging industry philosophy of Zero Harm.
NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee released a comment this morning emphasising the importance of safety in mining.
"The recent spike in incidents and fatalities in the Australian mining industry is a poignant reminder that our miners face hazards every day and that safety is everything to NSW mining; it is our number one priority, our most important issue," he said.
NSW minister for Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts told Australian Mining that he has written to the Mine Safety Advisory Council, asking it to undertake a "deeper, holistic examination of current circumstances across the mining industry to ensure we identify and respond to any issues that may contribute to serious incidents".
“Each incident is being thoroughly investigated by the Division of Resources and Energy, the work health and safety regulator for mines," he said.
“I am concerned that an increase in serious incidents has occurred and I want to ensure a robust, evidence-based approach is taken to identify any issues that must be highlighted and addressed."