New safety body for QLD mine workers

Queensland’s resource workers will soon have their own independent health and safety regulatory body after the state parliament supported new legislation.

The new regulatory body, named Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ), will regulate the safety and health of the state’s minerals, coal, petroleum and gas, quarry, small scale mining and explosives workers.

The Queensland Parliament passed the legislation on Tuesday, bringing into action the state government’s Resources Safety and Health Queensland Bill 2019.

Commencing activities from July 1, RSHQ’s main function will be to administer the resources safety acts, and to further their purposes.

The other function of RSHQ will be to protect and regulate the safety and health of persons in the resources industry, monitor legislative compliance, and carry out incidental commercial activities.

Queensland Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said the new regulator would focus on enhancing safety of Queensland’s 70,000 resources workers.

“It will be totally separate from the government’s broader function of growing and facilitating mining and exploration projects and the resources sector as a whole,” Lynham said.

RSHQ will comprise almost 90 coal mines, mineral mines and quarries, explosives and petroleum and gas inspectorates.

It will also include the Safety in Mines Testing and Research Station (Simtars) – a commercial business unit of the Queensland government department of natural resources, mines and energy.

Queensland’s coal mine workers’ health scheme is another initiative that will be regulated by the Resources Safety and Health Queensland body.

The RSHQ chief executive officer will report directly to the state’s mines minister and be required to have a professional qualification relevant to the resources industry and professional experience in the resources sector.

Queensland will also introduce a new mine safety reforms which include, among other measures, better detection and prevention of black lung, increasing maximum penalties for offences to $4 million and $35 million to deliver safety reforms.