Mines Minister George Cash has issued a challenge to Western Australia's mining industry to eliminate disabling injuries by the year 2000.
Speaking at a mining seminar today, Mr Cash said the outstanding safety achievements of some mining groups demonstrated that a zero or near zero incidence of disabling injury was possible.
He said achieving a rate of five `lost time injuries' (lti) per million hours worked was very respectable, but a rate of less than one lti per million hours worked could be attained on a regular basis.
"This will not be quick or easy to achieve, but it is essential if our industry is to prosper and retain its major competitive advantage and resource which is the people in the industry," Mr Cash said.
The Minister said WA's mining industry was now the best-performing industry in the State, with the lowest workers' compensation premiums, but this was not a reason for complacency.
"We have begun to plateau on the accident incidence reduction curve and there are still fatal accidents at an unacceptable level," he said.
"The only acceptable level is zero."
Mr Cash said over the past five years the contracting sector of the mining industry had set an impressive record in relation to safety performance.
"Some contractors in WA are now leading examples of first class safety performance, with sections of their mining workforce operating for extended periods free from workplace injury," he said.
Media contact: Mark Thompson 222 9595