THIS is in response to comments made by the managing director of Mineral Resource Authority Jerry Garry in The National on Nov 20 “Safety performing well”.
We anticipate higher expectation from the government to bring an appropriate remedy to solve slurry spills from the gold milling plant at Wafi-Golpu underground gold mine.
We want a solution not a mere promise of expressing satisfaction over mining safety standard.
The safety laws and regulations in Papua New Guinea is outdated and irrelevant which cannot be applicable in the light of current mining practices. The enforcement of safety rules and regulations in both the private and public sectors is lacking.
Safety in PNG has never been enforced by a state regulatory body.
The function of the regulatory body is to carry out enforcement, inspections, examinations, auditing, execute penalties, impose fines, terminate and deregister companies and ensure compliances.
PNG requires a National Safety Control Body to enforce and regulate safety laws.
It will also coordinate national functions and responsibilities which have not been eventuated.
In addition, outdated safety legislation is not modified.
The government lacks skill and vision to design better safety policies.
Different organisations enforce their fragmented safety policies without being co-ordinated by a regulatory body as checks and balances.
The organisations’ effective internal control safety system has reduced the probability of accidents and injuries that has resulted in achieving zero tolerance of loss time injuries.
The discharging of dangerous toxicants has adverse effects on the natural environment.
The mine operator had breached safety and environment regulations.
We are failing to penalise those responsible.
The regulatory body has to be established to legally enforce companies to comply with safety regulations to change their approach in being proactive to safety policies.
The aftermath result of strict enforcement minimises the level of risks and hazards at the workplaces.
It’s time now that we realise and establish that regulatory body which is a centre piece of regulating safety policies.
Independently report on behalf of the state regarding damages done on environment and injured employees.
Keep abreast with up-dated safety practices and disseminate information.
Timothy Ben Teropi,