BHP Billiton has received 74 notices to halt work in Western Australia since March, with fatalities at mine sites forcing the state government to increase safety scrutiny on the mining company.

Western Australia’s Department of Mines and Petroleum senior inspector Peter O’Loughlin said each notice called for the stoppage of work until certain stipulations were satisfied.

“This could range from a few hours to days, depending on the issue,” he said.

BHP, which controls seven iron ore mines in the Pilbara area of West Australia, reported five fatalities in the state at its mines in the nine months up to 19 March, according to figures from the state government.

State Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore said any prohibition notices for safety violations at BHP mines would result in automatic closures until safety hazards were imposed.

All prerequisites of the prohibition notices given to BHP have subsequently been satisfied by the company, the department said.