Nick Smith writes:
The Government intends exempting itself from the new workplace safety laws and mining regulations put in place following the Pike River Mine tragedy. This is ironically to enable their re-entry project. Politics is over-riding common sense.
Yep they are going to waive the very law put in to stop another Pike River.
It specifically criticised the single means of exit. Our Government implemented its recommendations with a new Health and Safety at Work Act (2015), new mining regulations and the new agency, WorkSafe NZ. These new laws rightly now require two means of exit from a mine and better ventilation.
Common sense – a single exit makes you so much more vulnerable.
A comprehensive 800-page report in 2015 concluded recovery of the men could not be done within the new safety laws.
The single exit issue was a significant factor in why Solid Energy Board resolved it couldn’t be done lawfully.
The reality is there will not be two exits. The explanation that it is not required because the Pike River Mine already has approval dating back to 2008 defies belief. This approval was deficient and was harshly criticised by the Royal Commission. The exemption is being sought because the ventilation in the mine does not meet the new regulations.
Yep the Government is relying on a 2008 approval, dating back to before the mine exploded!
This mine blew up because commercial pressures to produce coal saw safety rules compromised. We risk a repeat under political pressure. If the regulations are too rigid, revise them. We should not make exemptions. We would not do so for a new coal mine.
There shouldn’t be one law for Pike River and one for all other mines. Safety should be the same everywhere.
We need to call time on this charade. The men are not going to be recovered. There is not going to be any significant new evidence that changes the key conclusions. We need to heed the Royal Commission’s concluding message that the best tribute we can pay to the 29 lost men is to ensure the tough new workplace safety laws put in place in response to the tragedy are respected.
Instead the Government is pushing ahead just because it wants a photo opportunity.