Queensland’s Mines Inspectorate has announced that they will be cracking down on resources companies that insist labour-hire workers pay for their own safety equipment and health checks.
In a letter addressed to the state’s mining companies, Chief Inspector of Mines Luca Rocchi said the Inspectorate had received a number of complaints from contractors who were paying for their own Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and health assessments as a condition of their employment.
“There have been a number of incidents where positions at mines have been advertised requiring applicants to have a current mine medical and the applicant has been asked to pay for it themselves to secure employment,” Mr Rocchi said in the letter.
“We have also been provided evidence of employment contracts requiring workers to pay the cost of the medical if they leave their employment within a defined time which would result in the employer not meeting the (legal) requirements.”
“The Inspectorate will be actively checking to ensure PPE requirements and health assessments of contract workers and labour-hire employees are being managed in accordance with the legislation,” the Chief Inspector of Mines wrote.
Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union’s (CFMEU) Mining and Energy Queensland President, Steve Smyth, welcomed the commitment and said union safety inspectors had already flagged the issue as an ongoing problem.
“Casual labour-hire workers are already being exploited – it’s outrageous that the companies are trying to shift the costs of the workers’ own health and safety on to them as well,” he commented, “this is a dangerous industry and it’s the company’s responsibility to pay for medical assessments and safety equipment.”
Mr Smyth also said he believes it’s the government’s responsibility to make sure the companies comply with relevant laws about workplace health and safety.
“It’s beyond time they were held to account,” he stated.
The CFMEU is urging any worker who is concerned about requests to pay for health checks or safety equipment to contact the Union here.