Audit program shows more needs to be done to protect miners’ mental health


Following the release of its psychosocial harm audit tool and guide early last year, the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) conducted an audit of more than 140 companies, reviewing management systems, resourcing, consultation and the preventative measures put in place to protect staff’s mental health and wellbeing.

Information collected from 126 mining companies and 17 operators of petroleum and major hazard facilities over a ten-month period to October 2016 was analysed against four key criteria. These include:

  • management systems that address mental wellbeing
  • resourcing of systems relating to mental wellbeing
  • consultation with the workforce on mental wellbeing strategies
  • preventative and protective measures in place.

DMP Resources Safety Executive Director Simon Ridge said although the department was aware of the complexity of psychosocial harms, it was important to address the risks within an overall safety and health management system.

“The objective of this initial audit program was to establish a baseline against which to measure future progress in mental health risk management in the Western Australia’s resources sector,” Mr. Ridge said.

“Risks to psychological and physical health due to work should be viewed in the same manner as other workplace risks. The results from this initial audit program have shown that there are areas for improvement across the four key criteria, however, the most significant area for improvement is in the level of consultation with the workforce on mental health and wellbeing strategies.

“It is important that the prevention of work-related stressors is incorporated into all health and safety procedures and these results have shown that there is still much to be done in this space as well.”

According to the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP),  the Mining Industry Advisory Committee Mental Health Strategies Working Group is looking at the results of this baseline study.

The full report presenting the baseline results for psychosocial harm audits of mining operations, and petroleum and major hazard facilities is available here.

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