(EnergyAsia, August 1 2011, Monday) — Coal Services Pty Ltd said it has reduced workers’ compensation premium rates for the New South Wales coal mining industry by 2.78% for the current financial year 2011/2012, with the target premium rate set at 3.5%.

This is the latest in a series of reductions that have seen insurance rates fall from a high of 11.5% in 2002/03 to the current rate of 3.5%, equating to almost a 70% reduction over the last eight years.

Coal Services said the reduced rates reflect a strong commitment by mine operators to continue improving occupational health and safety measures and injury management systems for mine workers.

One of the initiatives in place to support improved occupational health and safety measures is the Premium Incentive Scheme operated by Coal Mines Insurance, a division of Coal Services. A key component of this scheme is for an employer to have their injury management systems reviewed. Following this review, mine operators are provided with a report on how their operation is positioned, and evidence-based recommendations for improvement where appropriate are provided.

Coal Services’ CEO Mark Coyne said: “A continued focus on occupational health and safety and durable return to work practices by NSW coal mine operators and contractors has contributed to a sustainable premium level. We have been working hard to improve our engagement and interaction with our stakeholders, and to demonstrate the value that a specialised insurer can offer to the industry.”

Nikki Williams, CEO of the NSW Minerals Council, a Coal Services shareholder, applauded the continued improvement in workplace safety in the state’s coal mines.

“NSW mining companies and their employees are to be congratulated on continuing to improve workplace health and safety. It is heartening to see those improvements now beginning to be reflected in reduced workers compensation premium rates” she said.

Tony Maher, the General President of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU, also a Coal Services shareholder), said:

“Our workers are our industry’s most important asset. Coal Services has a range of programmes designed to support industry in protecting workers’ health and safety; and these, coupled with reduced premiums, is a win-win for everyone.”

Coal Services Pty Limited is an industry-owned specialist organisation focusing on providing best practices in occupational health, safety, worker’s compensation insurance, mines rescue services and innovative training solutions for Australia’s coal mining and heavy industries.