Forced gender quotas in places where they have no need usually just hurt the businesses in question, but the gender quota imposed on Australia’s mine safety committee appear to have led to the deaths of four miners.
The Mine Health and Safety Advisory Committee dissolved late last year, according to the Australian Broadcasting Company. The reason the committee went idle was because it could not meet its gender quota. Four miners died during the time the committee was inactive. Two additional miners died within the year but prior to the committee’s dissolution. From ABC:
On Sunday a 27-year-old man suffered fatal head injuries at the Baralaba North coal mine, west of Gladstone.
He was found “entangled in an excavator access ladder” about 2:00am, the Department of Mines and Energy said.
Six hours later, another man in his 50s was seriously injured in fall at a mine in Collinsville in the Bowen Basin.
The death takes the fatality total to six over the last year — making it the worst year for mining deaths since 1997.
An emergency meeting was called, with Australia’s Mines Minister Anthony Lynham attending along with representatives from the mining industry and its union. After the meeting concluded, Lynham announced two forthcoming reviews regarding mine safety. One review will look into the incidents at coal and mineral mines and quarry sites. The other review will be conducted by the University of Queensland and will review state laws to see if they should be updated.
The safety committee, Lynham told reporters, would be re-established in light of the recent deaths. Ian Macfarlane, CEO of Queensland Resources Council, told ABC that the council nominated two women to serve on the committee six months ago, but both were rejected by state government.
“We need to make sure the outcomes of what we do today, Wednesday, later on this week and over the safety stop is something that is tangible and that does give people something to take away that improves their individual safety and the safety of the mining operations,” he said regarding another emergency meeting that will occur on Wednesday. “Safety goes on every minute of every day, and this is certainly an escalation of safety in terms of making sure people have an understanding of what they have to do.”
Meanwhile, CFMMEU, a mining union, representative Steve Smyth called for all Queensland mines to halt production until CEOs and workers could meet to discuss important safety issues, ABC reported.
“These coal companies have got to stop production. There’s got to be a reset, there’s got to be a stopping of production, a sitting down with the workers and working through what is actually going on at each and every one of their mine sites,” Smyth said. “We need to be stopping the industry, the industry needs a reset and get back on with business but be empowering their workers to stand up and speak out.”