China and Australia have recently passed a Fair Trade agreement (FTA), which which has sparked concerns from some business leaders about the safety of mining practises .
In the aftermath of the announcement, some industries have raised concerns about what the agreement will do for business. This includes the mining industry, within which leading voices have expressed worry about Chinese companies bringing their own workers to Australian mines. They believe this could result in less safe work practices.
George Edwards, chairman of the Australian Mining Association, expressed his concern based on time spent in Chinese mines to the Asia Pacific Resources Conference.
“I know from having gone to China for nearly 40 years the standard[s] in mines in China are not as high as they are here. I believe they are used to lower safety standards in general and therefore it makes it difficult for them to operate in an environment with higher standards”.
A representative for the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy has also expressed concern about safety standards. Chief executive Michael Catchpole told Mining Australia that miners brought in to local work sites should have the appropriate skill set and training. He also called for insurance that incoming workers adhere to Australian health and safety standards.
One crucial factor of maintaining workplace safety is using the right equipment. Right across the mining industry, employees handle dangerous materials on a day to day basis. These risks can be managed through use of compliant dangerous goods storage equipment. This includes flammable storage cabinets, chemical stores and gas cylinder storage cages.
These types of practices improve workplace safety for all involved, and are particularly important to keep in mind as Australia moves forward into this trade agreement which may see more Chinese-operated mines expand into the country.