Pay Attention To Mining Safety

Improving the safety and health performance of the NSW mining industry is a priority for the NSW Government.

The role of NSW Department of Primary Industries' Mine Safety program is to provide the framework and direction to industry to manage risks through consultation and safe systems. Mine Safety works closely with employers, employees, other government agencies and the community to promote best practice in the area of mine safety. Through the verification of appropriate safety systems, processes and standards Mine Safety strives to be an efficient and effective regulator, encouraging those who exceed minimum standards and holding accountable those who do not. Mine Safety also aims to significantly improve the safety performance and culture of the industry though communication strategies and measures of performance.

Mine Safety has a strategic approach to achieve the Government’s aim of zero fatalities in the mining industry. This is seen as an objective that can be achieved. Over time, Mine Safety has had success in this change agenda and played a role in the reduction of fatalities and serious body injuries in the mining industry.

Mine Safety is also implementing the recommendations from the recent Wran Review into Mine Safety. The Review made 31 recommendations and some of the recommendations referred to a 'strengthened' Mine Safety Advisory Council (the tripartite group to provide advice on mine health and safety matters to the Minister) with greater resources. The Review is also looking at fatigue, production bonuses and safety incentives, the apparent disconnect between employees and the safety management system in the industry, in addition to upgrading our Mine Safety COMET database to world standard.

Mine Safety is currently finalising the implementation of new mine safety legislation. This is a major step in the change program to move closer to achieving zero fatalities and serious injuries. Mine Safety disseminates mine safety information in addition to utilising our database to update and analyse incidents in the industry. Mine Safety also ensures that people have adequate competencies to work in the industry through examinations and competency assessment.

Mine Safety has an Investigation unit which has provided reports on incidents which have assisted in achieving successful prosecutions. As recognition of this excellence the Tasmanian government requested the services of the unit to assist in the Beaconsfield mine investigation. In addition, the New Zealand government has requested the assistance of the investigation unit.

Mine Safety has the objective to work with industry to develop a strong systematic approach based on risk management principles and performance outcomes supported by a sound safety culture prevailing in the industry.

Organisational structure

Mine Safety comprises two branches, Mine Safety Operations and Mine Safety Performance.

The Mine Safety Operations branch has a team of inspectors throughout the state who carry out assessments, investigations and verify appropriate safety systems, processes and standards. The Operations Branch also has a technical services unit which consists of the Mine Safety Technology Centre at Thornton, in addition to a Mine Subsidence unit at Maitland.

The Mine Safety Performance branch provides the framework and direction for the mining industry to manage risks through consultation and safe systems. The Performance Branch provides the appropriate regulatory framework and standards, communication and measures of performance with the aim of significantly improving the safety performance and culture of the mining industry. The Branch also has a Mine Safety Investigation Unit which carries out high level investigations into serious accidents and incidents.

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Mar 7, 2012