A memorial has honoured the victims of mine sites in New South Wales, and encouraged current workers to be mindful of the many dangers in the industry.

The Union representing miners in NSW’s Hunter Valley says it is an excellent thing that the local industry has gone two years without a fatality, but has urged everyone not to get complacent about safety.

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union says hundreds of people have turned out to the 18th annual memorial, gathering to reflect on the 1,800 lives lost since earth was first overturned for resources in the Hunter.

The CFMEU's Grahame Kelly says constant vigilance is key: “One of our great challenges is shiftwork... we've got mines in the northern coal fields who are considering working seven-12 hour shifts in a row and we think that's ridiculous.”

Mr Kelly says the mining companies that run the sites need to know the pressure they put on workers also puts lives at risk.

“There's forever a push to do things quicker and the like, so there always needs to be a vigilance in making sure that people return home safely,” he said, “...we had a fatality two years ago, but we still have lots of people seriously injured in the coal industry.”

“This memorial is an opportunity for those people who've lost loved ones to come and remember them as well as for all of us to double our efforts to ensure that we maintain safety.”