Yara Pilbara chief executive Mark Loquan has called for industry standardised safety training for mine site workers in Western Australia.
Mr Loquan raised the idea at the Chamber of Minerals and Energy health and safety conference in Perth on Monday morning.
He told delegates that the onshore sector is lagging behind the offshore industry in achieving across-industry minimum safety standards for contractors.
“I am in no way questioning the commitment to safety across the sector and by the contractors, but I am concerned there are no agreed minimum standards that apply across the onshore processing industry,” Loquan said.
“Currently it’s somewhat fragmented, with individual companies having their own systems and requirements but the industry has a highly mobile workforce. This can yield unpredictable outcomes in the industry.”
Mr Loquan said Yara Pilbara, operator of the world’s largest ammonia production facility near Karratha, had successfully embarked on a program to improve occupational and process safety performance.
Yara Pilbara claims to have attained over 800 days without a “recordable” injury for employees or contractors, leading up to February 2014.
“Although we have a permanent residential workforce, like many operators we have a strong reliance on contractors for certain tasks and we take our duty of care very seriously. We do wish to continuously raise the bar on safety, which can only benefit all workers entering our site to return home safely to their families.”
Loquan said he supported the introduction of a co-ordinated contractor safety system such as that implemented offshore in Australia by APPEA, which he had also seen operating in Trinidad and Tobago’s petrochemical industry.
Loquan said through a collaborative approach in Trinidad and Tobago several onshore processing companies, the country’s Energy Chamber, contractors and industry bodies had developed a “passport” system, like the construction industry nationally recognised White Card.
“I think as an industry we need to possibly collaborate more for the long term and to acknowledge the need for minimum standards. In this way, we can get on with working together to put a robust system in place to improve occupational safety for contractors,” Loquan said.
He said Yara Pilbara had been using the construction industry White Card as a standard and had also been discussing with APPEA the possibility of modifying the Common Safety Training Program (CSTP) card for the offshore platforms and applying it to the company’s WA plants.