Work Health and Safety (Mines) Regulation 2014 adopted

Posted On 03 Jan 2015
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On 12 December 2014, the Work Health and Safety (Mines) Regulation 2014, has been made and published. The Regulation together with the Work Health and Safety (Mines) Act 2013 will commence on 1 February 2015. The new laws will repeal and replace the Coal Mine Health and Safety Act 2002 and the Mine Health and Safety Act 2004 and there will no longer be separate mine safety legislation for coal mines or metalliferous and extractives mines.

The new laws increase harmonisation between the different states and territories of Australia. They have been developed in consultation with other states, in particular the other major mining states of Western Australia and Queensland. The new mining-specific laws have also been developed to align with and build on the Work Health and Safety Act and Regulation. This will make it easier for businesses to use consistent approaches across mining and non-mining operations.

To help companies comply with the WHS (Mines) legislation, a range of transitional arrangements have been put in place. Key transitional arrangements include:
– Existing certificates of competence are intended to be recognised as certificates of competence under the new WHS (Mines) laws
– Where a practising certificate is now required in addition to a certificate of competence, it is intended that a person holding the certificate of competence will be deemed to have the practising certificate
– Existing appointments of mine operators are recognised as appointments of a mine operator under the WHS (Mines) laws
– Approval of a mine operator is recognised as notification of a mine operator under WHS laws.

Mining operations includes constructing a mine site, preparing or processing extracted materials and handling or storing extracted materials. It also includes activities associated with decommissioning, making safe or closing an extraction site or exploration site.

Mining operations also includes educational and tourist activities at or in the vicinity of a mine site, for example if tours of the site are provided at an operating mine. Mining operations can be either mining activities or activities carried out in connection with mining activities.

These are activities carried out for the purpose of:
– extracting minerals from the ground
– injecting minerals into the ground
– exploring for minerals.

Approved mining codes of practice are practical guides to achieving the standards of health, safety and welfare required under the WHS (Mines) Act 2013 and the WHS (Mines) Regulation 2014.

Mining specific codes of practice are being developed in consultation between governments, unions and employer organisations. They will then be approved by the Minister for Resources and Energy to apply to mining operations under the WHS (Mines) Act 2013.

Public comment has been conducted on the following draft codes of practice:
– Safety management systems in mining
– Strata control in underground coal mines
– Inundation and inrush hazard management
– Emergency planning for mines
– Roadway dust analysis in underground mines.

Public comment will be invited shortly on the following draft codes of practice:
– Emergency planning for mines
– Mechanical engineering control plan
– Electrical engineering control plan

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