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Critical legal changes coming to Queensland mines

safety, mine, legislation, queensland

Queensland will soon introduce a number of significant changes to safety legislation in the resources sector. Safe to Work covers the broad strokes.

Proposed amendments to the laws address recommendations from the Brady Review of mining fatalities, the Coal Mining Board of Inquiry into the Grosvenor coal mine explosion, and feedback from the Queensland Government’s industry-wide safety resets.

The bill was created in consultation with industry, unions and the community, and focuses on implementing high reliability organisation behaviours, modernising regulatory enforcement powers, and providing a more contemporary legislative framework.

Among the most significant changes is the requirement of a coal mine to develop a set of critical controls with performance criteria which must be incorporated into principal hazard management plans.

These critical controls require:

  • the senior site executive (SSE) to notify the Regulator in the event of a failure of the critical control to meet its performance criteria
  • the SSE to monitor the effectiveness of the critical controls, and report the results to the mine operator, on a monthly basis
  • and coal mine operators to audit critical controls.

Critical controls must be incorporated into the safety and health management systems for all coal mines, mineral mines and quarries which will be overseen by Resources Safety and Health Queensland’s audit and inspection program.

Other changes include the introduction of new certificates of competency for the roles of mechanical engineering manager and electrical engineering manager as well as a new certificate of competency to be introduced for surface mine managers.

The bill also means labour hire workers and agencies will be classed as contractors under the legislation which removes any doubt that health and safety obligations apply to labour hire agencies – another recommendation from the Board of Inquiry.

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