Health and wellbeing is becoming more and more prominent in Australia’s mining industry. At present the industry is facing some tough obststacles such as an ageing workforce, a skilled labour shortage and rising health care costs. To manage these obstacles, Australian mining companies are looking into adopting preventative health programs that target specific health issues and manage them appropriately. These programs, or better known as wellness programs, provide an array of general health and wellbeing benefits for those who adopt them. This report will aim at identifying the wellness programs being used in Queensland mines and discuss their effectiveness. It will identify the legislation behind wellness programs and how, if at all, these programs can be used to satisfy legislative obligations. The project targeted coal and metalliferious mines in Queensland in the expectation of distinguishing correlations and differences between the two. In order to achieve the above goals a survey was conducted of 22 Queensland minesites. The responses came from 12 coal mines and 10 metalliferious mines.
The results concluded that wellness programs are actively being used by both coal and metalliferious mines in Queensland. Research has indicated that wellness programs have the potential to be cost effective and promote health and wellbeing. This research data cannot be linked to the Australian mining industry but similar results would be expected. It was also found that the legislation between the two mining disciplines differed when looking at the requirements to provide personal fatigue management systems and providing amenities for fitness and health. From the survey results coal mines were found to be doing more to manage fatigue than metalliferious mines. This result was expected as coal mine have a legislative obligation to provide such systems whereas metalliferious mines do not. Although the implementation of wellness programs is affected by many aspects of business development, in it believed that these programs can effectively manage health and wellbeing and have the potential to have an overall impact of the Australian Mining Industry. For these programs to be sustainable, health must be promoted as a “value” within the industry to a status similar to what safety is.