Two new important pieces of safety legislation were released
this week for public comment and consultation.
The draft model Work, Health and Safety Regulations for mining
(WHS Mining Regulations) and the draft Rail Safety
National Law and Regulations are now open for feedback from
employers and other stakeholders while they are still in draft
The proposed laws have been introduced as part of the trend
towards the harmonisation of safety laws in Australia.
New mining laws
Safe Work Australia, working in conjunction with the National
Mine Safety Framework, has released the WHS Mining Regulations and
associated Codes of Practice. The WHS Mining Regulations and Codes
of Practice will support the model Work Health and Safety
Act set to commence on 1 January 2012. The mining component of
the draft Model Regulations had been held back for further
development when the remainder of the draft Model Regulations were
released late last year.
However, the prospect of the harmonisation of mine safety laws
has already been hindered by plans in three states to develop
separate mine safety legislation. Queensland, NSW and Western
Australia have indicated that they are developing laws outside of
the Safe Work Australia harmonisation process, although they have
maintained that the WHS Mining Regulations will either be
complementary to, or provide a basis for, the WHS Mining
Comments on the draft WHS Mining Regulations must be submitted
to Safe Work Australia by 9 September 2011 and comments on the
Codes of Practice must be submitted by 7 October 2011.
To review the draft WHS Mining Regulations and Codes of
New rail laws
Drafts of the Rail Safety National Law 2011 and the
Rail Safety National Law Regulations 2011 were released
for public comment this week by the National Transport Commission
(NTC). Following the release, Chief Executive of
the NTC, Nick Dimopoulos, stated that harmonisation in the area of
rail safety will provide for better safety outcomes and increased
efficiency in the industry. Currently, there are seven rail safety
regulators in Australia, all operating under different rail safety
The draft Model Act and Regulations are open for comment until
12 August 2011. In the meantime forums will be held by the NTC and
the National Rail Safety Regulator Project Office to explain the
proposed laws and provide a further opportunity for feedback.
To review the draft Model Act and Regulations, click
We strongly encourage employers in the mining and rail
industries to review the new laws and provide comment where
For assistance in preparing and submitting comments in relation
to either pieces of legislation or for advice regarding the impact
of the harmonisation of safety laws generally, please contact one
of our occupational health and safety team, below.
T: +61 3 9640 4274
T: +61 2 9513 2561
T: +61 8 9216 0923
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