Dunno what you’ve got to do to pass, but more than 6000 miners are to be tested for competency this year as a result of the Pike River tragedy.
Perhaps there’s a test for work with a pick and a test for work with a shovel, Alf mused. He was a dab hand at wielding both implements once upon a time but has slowed up in recent years and might now be given a D-minus for both tests. Mrs Grumble, who does all the gardening in the home patch in Eketahuna North, has a fair chance of passing, on the other hand.
According to a report at Stuff, the testing of the miners follows the example set by Australia, which has stopped mining companies “divesting responsibility” for heath and safety to lower-level staff.
The testing will be done by an outfit called the New Zealand mining board of examiners, which was created on the recommendation of the Pike River mine disaster Royal Commission.
The board’s job, overseen by state regulator Worksafe, will set standards for certifying about 6500 people, from owner-operators of small, back-country quarries to staff in large, corporatised gold or coal mines.
Worksafe high hazards general manager Brett Murray said everyone will be tested for a certificate of competence. Mine employees and owners would “always be responsible”, he said.
The new training, testing and certification is system is being introduced in the next nine months under a 2013 law, Health and Safety in Employment (mining and quarrying operations).
Under the new regime mine managers will be legally responsible for rules breaches, as happens in Australia.
A company will have to appoint a “site senior executive” to handle health and safety. On smaller mine sites, this may well be the same person as the mine manager.
“It gets round the issue of having a number of companies within the corporate…and then divesting responsibility,” Murray said.
So what will be tested?
Regulators now required staff at an underground coal mine, for example, to be certified in areas like control of gas and ventilation. The mining board of inspections and Worksafe would apply its standards in the same way, regardless of whether an operator was Solid Energy or a farmer running a stone-crushing machine for their laneways.
Good idea, obviously.
Just as good would be competency test for politicians.
Candidates would have to pass it before being allowed to stand for election.
Alf is fairly confident it would have the immediate benefit of ridding the House of Representatives of most and maybe all lefties and greenies.