Researchers are looking at how mining companies can better protect their workers from injury. 

New research from Edith Cowan University (ECU) has identified some key causes of workplace fatalities in the Western Australian mining and resources sector. 

The team ran a study in two phases. First, researchers surveyed more than 2,000 mining company employees to gain their perceptions of workplace safety and injury risk.   

They then compared the questionnaire results to actual workplace fatalities to see if the way people perceived the injury risk at their workplace aligned with the results of the incidents. 

In most cases, survey respondents with leadership roles, such as superintendents and managers, scored their organisation’s performance higher than employees in frontline positions.   

The study also noted significant differences in responses from those based in Perth and workers in other regions of WA, with regional respondents attributing lower scores than their city-based counterparts. This could be evidence of disconnect between the operating site and head office. 

ECU PhD candidate Tanya Jenke said the study could form a blueprint for mining companies to ensure their worksites are as safe as possible.  

“It highlights potentially dangerous gaps between employee expectations of management – such as prioritising worker safety - and reality,” Ms Jenke said.  

“Mining organisations need to ensure systems and processes are in place to foster a collaborative and transparent work environment.”  

More research is being undertaken to look at employees’ perceptions of their organisations. Anyone looking to take part in the project can complete an online survey.