NSW watchdog issues zero prohibition notices during inspections

The New South Wales Resources Regulator has found that mine operators responded to the risks of coronavirus quickly and appropriately during inspections.

The regulator conducted 178 inspections across 87 different mine sites in New South Wales to see how mine operators were responding to the COVID-19 risks.

NSW Resources Regulator chief inspector of mines Garvin Burns said that most operators had implemented appropriate controls to reduce or prevent a virus transmission. It identified only a small number of issues that were largely minor in nature.

These controls include identification of symptoms, good hygiene, social distancing and remote working arrangements.

“Under work health and safety laws, employers must do all that is reasonably practicable to eliminate or minimise the risks arising from COVID-19,” he said.

“Of the 87 mines inspected to date, the majority had demonstrated that they have implemented appropriate controls and are maintaining appropriate levels of supervision – with many able to demonstrate that they had comprehensive workplace controls in place.

“However, there were a small number of issues identified in relation to some sites not appropriately documenting their controls or completing risk assessments. These resulted in some improvement notices issued – but pleasingly the program has not resulted in the issue of any prohibition notices.”

The regulator also assessed the potential impacts on safety at mining operations, with an emphasis on supervision arrangements.

It will continue to monitor the implementation of controls, reminding mine operators to remain vigilant to both COVID-19 related risks and those associated with mining hazards.

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