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Mineworkers’ medical assessments: companies must pay

September 3, 2018

Mining companies are breaching the law by pushing costs for medical assessments and safety gear on to workers.

CFMEU Mining and Energy has welcomed a commitment from Queensland’s Mines Inspectorate to crack down on companies insisting labour hire workers pay for their own health checks and personal protective equipment as a condition of employment.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland President Steve Smyth said union safety inspectors had been raising the alarm on this issue for years.

“Casual labour hire workers are already being exploited – it’s outrageous that the companies are shifting the costs of the workers’ own health and safety on to them as well,” he said.

“This is a dangerous industry and it’s the company’s responsibility to pay for medical assessments and safety equipment.

“It’s the government’s responsibility to make sure the companies comply with relevant laws about workplace health and safety. This has been an on-going issue and It’s beyond time the companies were held to account.”

Queensland’s Mines Inspectorate has written to mining companies saying it had received numerous enquiries and complaints from contractor employees about paying for their own personal protective equipment (PPE) and mineworker health assessments, in breach of Queensland’s mine safety laws.

A letter from Queensland’s Chief Inspector of Mines Luca Rocchi said:

“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.

“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.”

Anyone concerned about requests to pay for health checks or safety equipment should contact their CFMEU Mining and Energy district office.

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