Pike River mining disaster mum says stay safe

THE mother of a man killed in New Zealand's Pike River mining disaster is warning workers on Australian operations to focus on their jobs and not the trappings of Christmas if they want to come home safe.

Joanne Ufer's son Joshua, 25, was killed in November 2010 with 28 other workers in what became New Zealand's worst ever mining incident.

In the past two weeks, four Australian miners have died on copper, gold and coal mines.

On November 30, a NSW worker was inside her four-wheel-drive when it was run over by a giant dump truck.

A few days later on December 4, a worker was crushed to death on a gold and copper mine in Western Australia.

Just this week, two Tasmanians were killed when they fell from a copper mine's underground platform.

Ms Ufer now works with A Miner's Legacy, a support group for those who lose a loved one in the mining industry.

She did not want the horror visited on her family three years ago to be felt by anyone else, particularly so close to Christmas.

"You need to be vigilant and be on the look out for things that may not be right or sound right," Ms Ufer said.

"Take a bit of extra time to think about things.

"If you have got a dozen other things going on, that might be the time you miss something."

Mine Safety Institute of Australia director Mark Parcell works closely with A Miner's Legacy.

Mr Parcell said Queensland was about to mark three years without a coal mine fatality which likely meant workers were becoming complacent.

"That's a good record but there have been lots of serious accidents, some near-misses and some luck," he said.

With so many mines pushing to meet production targets at Christmas, Mr Parcell said workers needed to concentrate on safety first.

"You're probably thinking about enjoying yourself.

"Or you're thinking about having the job done on or ahead of schedule.

"That's when people have accidents."


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