Serafina Silaitoga and Luke Rawalai | The Fiji Times | May 26, 2016
THE Ministry of Labour does not monitor the occupational health and safety standard issues at all mining sites.
Minister for Labour Semi Koroilavesau confirmed this yesterday as he responded to questions from this newspaper following the death of 29-year-old Floyd Williams at the bauxite mining site in Bua last Saturday.
“The ministry is not aware of any safety concerns raised by the workers in the mines as this area is not regulated by our ministry,” Mr Koroilavesau said.
“The Health and Safety at Work Act 1996 applies to all workplaces except those workplaces connected with the Mining Act, Quarries Act, Explosives Act and Petroleum (Exploration and Exploitation) Act.
“Therefore, the National OHS Service does not monitor the OHS standard at all mining sites, as these are exempted from the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work Act.”
But Mr Koroilavesau assured that investigations had started into the incident in Bua.
“The accident has been brought to the attention of our Labasa office and our officers have already been deployed to carry out investigations into the accident.
“If a non-compliance issue is identified, various mechanisms such as verbal advice, formal correspondence and issuing of relevant notices, are used to ensure that workplaces meet the minimum OHS standards.
“If an offence is committed against the Health and Safety at Work Act 1996, maximum fines of up to $100,000 in the case of a corporation or $10,000 in any other case, are imposed.”
Mr Koroilavesau said in cases of a serious offence being committed, legal proceedings were instituted against the person committing the offence.