Million dollar research partnership to improve Miner safety

$1 Million Centre for Resources Health and Safety

11 March 2014

The Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER) at the University of Newcastle will tomorrow launch a new Centre for Resources Health and Safety, a research centre aimed at saving lives in the high-risk resources sector.  The new Centre has been established through a new research partnership, worth $1 million over four years, between NIER and global healthcare provider Aspen Medical.

According to government agency Safe Work Australia data, injuries at work resulted in the deaths of 2,593 workers from 2002 to 2012. In 2012 alone, seven people working in the mining industry were killed at work.

NIER Director Dr Alan Broadfoot said the health, safety and wellbeing of those working in the resources sector was critical to the growth of the industry.

"More has to be done to reduce the personal toll of illness and injury, so that everyone who works in the sector can go home to their families each day."

"In addition, poor work health and safety costs our nation more than $60 billion each year."

"The new Centre will harness expertise across a range of disciplines within the University to address key healthcare challenges for the resources and mining industries.

"This Centre will be unique. It extends the traditional concept of resources health and safety from delivering benefit to people working in the industry, to the communities and economies that rely on mining and resources."

Areas of research will include occupational health and safety, respiratory studies, psychology, psychiatry, environmental impacts and social impacts.

Aspen Medical has extensive experience as a sector focused healthcare provider particularly in defence, mining and resources.

Chairman of Aspen Medical Dr Andrew Walker said collaboration with world-class researchers with strong links back to the industry is critical to addressing healthcare challenges.

"We are delighted to be leading the way once again and to be working closely with the talented team at the University of Newcastle in delivering world-class research into health in the mining and resources industries. 

"Aspen has been at the forefront of developing innovative healthcare solutions at home and overseas for over a decade. This partnership is a further example of our reputation for innovation and passion for excellence. 

"This is not only great news for Newcastle but also for Australia, as the changing face of the nation's workforce can be mitigated by moving towards a knowledge-based economy, which is what this partnership represents."

The University Director of Development Rebecca Hazell thanked Aspen for its commitment to furthering research in this important area of reducing workplace accidents and fatalities, and to the University of Newcastle.

"I am proud to say that Dr Andrew Walker, Chairman of Aspen Medical, is an alumnus of the University and the Managing Director Mr Glenn Keys is also from Newcastle.

"It is a wonderful example of 'giving back', which will ultimately benefit the community and result in lives being saved and workplace injuries being reduced."

Contact: Sheena Martin
Contact Phone: +61 2 4921 8714
Contact Email: media@newcastle.edu.au