November 8, 2007
EPMU calls for greater mine safety
Mine check inspectors are a crucial part of mine safety and should be provided for in any new mining regulations, says
the union that represents nearly all of New Zealand’s coal miners.
The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union’s call follows recent news that mining widow Valma McGowan plans to
campaign for changes to mining regulations and labour law following the death of her husband Robert McGowan at the Black
Reef mine last year.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says the use of dedicated mine check inspectors would be a significant step
forward for mining safety.
“Having someone onsite whose express purpose is to check worksite safety, equipment standards and that the right
procedures are followed, and who has the confidence of the miners would make mining that much safer.
“Mining remains one of the most dangerous jobs and it’s about teamwork and trust. Often miners’ lives are in the hands
of their workmates and that’s why in the past check inspectors have been elected by their workmates.
“The idea of check inspectors isn’t a new one. Until 1992 these positions were required by regulation and they still
exist in the UK and Australia as a proven way of significantly increasing worker safety.”
Little will be meeting with Minister of Labour Trevor Mallard to discuss the issue.
Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union
E tū: the new union for New Zealanders
E tū has been created by the merger of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union and Service and Food Workers'
E tū represents more than 50,000 working New Zealanders in industries as diverse as aviation, construction, journalism,
food manufacturing, mining and cleaning.
By standing together in a union workers get higher wages and better conditions. As the country's largest private sector
union E tū can provide members with workplace representation, legal advice, a freephone support centre, work rights
education and broad representation through E tū's campaigning and research work.
We campaign hard for workers' rights, health and safety, a living wage for all Kiwis, and recognising high-value