After years in the making, the new work health and safety (WHS)
laws for the NSW mining industry – the Work Health and
Safety (Mines) Act 2013 (NSW) and Work Health and Safety
(Mines) Regulation 2014 (NSW) (New Mining Laws) – will
commence on 1 February 2015.
What does this mean?
The New Mining Laws will repeal and replace the existing
Coal Mine Health and Safety Act 2002 (NSW) and the
Mine Health and Safety Act 2004 (NSW) and the respective
regulations. This means that coal mining and other mining in NSW,
such as metalliferous mining, will now operate under the same
legislative scheme for WHS. The existing Work Health and Safety
Act 2011 (NSW) and Work Health and Safety Regulation
2011 (NSW) (WHS Laws) will continue to apply.
The purpose of the New Mining Laws is to improve the consistency
of WHS requirements for mines and to implement reforms developed as
part of the WHS harmonisation process. The New Mining Laws include
notification and functions of mine operators
WHS representation/consultation with workers
risk management and specific risk controls
mine survey plans, records, notifications and reporting
statutory positions/functions, and
Who will be impacted?
Most mines, exploration activities and processing/treatment
facilities will be impacted.
"Mining operations" is defined to include activities
associated with extraction of, or exploration for, minerals and
includes activities performed in connection with these. Exploration
activities will be treated as a mining operation and will require
notification of a mine operator and the implementation of a safety
management system. Many provisions will apply to all mining
operations, though specific additional risk controls have also been
prescribed for underground mines, underground coal mines and coal
What do I need to do?
Although many of the new requirements and approaches will be
familiar to mine operations, the legislative schemes are different.
All mine operations will need to carefully review the New Mining
Laws to understand their obligations and implement necessary
changes. Transitional provisions will allow mine operators some
time to adjust to changes.
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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