News, Surface operations, Work health and safety

Regulator investigating small mines for compliance

regulations, nsw, mining, safety

The NSW Resources Regulator recently investigated a number of small mines across the state to assess compliance with the Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Regulation 2022.

A new standard

Under the new regulations, non-coal mines, where respirable silica has been identified, are now required to sample and analyse airborne dust. The new laws also tighten up many safety procedures, such as emergency planning, reporting duties, measuring exhaust emissions and fuel standards, and defining the scope of certain statutory roles.

NSW Resources Regulator executive director Peter Day said the legislation is a significant step towards ensuring the safety of workers.

“Safety on mine sites isn’t just the law; it’s the foundation upon which our industry stands. We owe it to our workers to provide them with a secure and healthy work environment,” he said.

Findings

The Resources Regulator subsequently completed a compliance program targeting small above ground mines in NSW to assess how operators are implementing the legislative changes.

The program saw the Regulator assess 44 sites across the state, and issue 30 of those sites with a total 34 notices. This included 26 notices of concern and eight improvement notices.

Mines were mostly compliant, however, key issues emerged from the investigation. The Regulator found that 28 per cent of mines had not reviewed their site safety management systems (SMS) with consideration for the updated legislation; 28 per cent had not communicated changes to the mine’s SMS to workers; and 21 per cent had not updated their SMS to reference notification requirements for certain high-risk activities.

The Regulator also emphasised the importance of updating statutory functions, dust limitations and monitoring requirements, and emergency management plans to align with new legislation.

Send this to a friend