The Queensland Mine Safety Framework – Consultation
Regulatory Impact Statement was released on 11 September 2013. The
Regulatory Impact Statement seeks comment from stakeholders in
relation to proposed changes to Queensland's existing mine
Specifically, the Department of Natural Resources and Mines
(DRNM) proposes four options for change to improve
mining safety and health and develop greater consistency with the
mine safety frameworks in place in other jurisdictions. Following
earlier consultation paper released in June 2012, two of the
four options are now considered in the current regulatory impact
Option 1 proposes to retain the existing Coal Mining Safety
and Health Act 1999 (Qld) (CMSHA) and the
Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999 (Qld)
(MQSHA) with amendments to align the legislation
with the proposed requirements for mining from the Model Work
Health and Safety Act and provisions from the National Mine Safety
Option 3 proposes new mine safety legislation primarily based
on the Model Work Health and Safety Act and key provisions from the
national mine safety framework.
DRNM's preferred option is Option 1.
A number of the key proposed changes are considered below.
Changes to requirements for statutory position holders
Under the proposed Option 1 amendments, additional statutory
position holders under the CMSHA and MQSHA will require statutory
certificates of competency issued by the Board of Examiners.
Currently only five statutory positions require statutory
certificates of competency. Under the proposed amendments, 16 roles
(which currently exist at Queensland mines) will require statutory
certificates of competency to be issued.
Other important safety roles will have minimum competencies
prescribed but won't require a board of examiners
Improved contractor management at mines
Non-core policy from the National Mine Safety Framework seeks
improved contractor management through greater clarity and
precision of current requirements under the CMSHA and MQSHA. All
mines are currently required to operate under a single safety and
health management system developed specifically for each particular
site by management in consultation with its workforce however, the
legislation does not guide mine operators or contractors as to how
they should work together to achieve the single safety and health
Changes to the rights of industry safety and health
representatives at mines
The changes proposed under Option 1 support the increase of
industry safety and health representatives (ISHRs)
at mines from three to four in recognition of the growth of the
resources sector in recent years.
Additionally, proposed amendments will either:
Clarify the directive that can be given by industry safety and
health representatives and district worker representatives
(DWRs) related to suspending operations for an
unacceptable level of risk; or
Provide that ISHRs and DWRs will have a role in the
notification of potential risks but not be able to issue a
directive to suspend operations.
Under the first alternative, it is proposed that a directive to
suspend operations will only be allowed when danger is imminent or
immediate. If an ISHR or DWR issues a directive to suspend
operations when risk is imminent or immediate, they must be on the
mine site to do so and the directive will be subject to a Mines
Inspector's review and ratification within 12 hours or it will
Under the second alternative ISHRs and DWRs will retain a role
in the notification of potential risks but will not be able to
issue a directive to suspend operations under any circumstances.
ISHRs and DWRs retain all other powers.
Other proposed areas for reform
Changes applying to executive officers to align with the
obligations of officers in the Work Health and Safety Act
Longer limitation period for prosecutions;
Changes to offences, penalties, imprisonment provisions and
additional possible court orders following a prosecution.
Stakeholders have the opportunity to make submissions to DNRM on
the proposed changes. The consultation period is open until 5:00pm
on 11 November 2013.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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