Mining regulations have been developed to provide consistent safety standards for the mining sector across Australia.
Most regulation requirements will be familiar to the mining community and the obligation to manage risks to health and safety are the same as in all workplaces.
Safety management systems are required as the basis for managing all risks to health and safety associated with mining. The system describes policies, management structures, and contractor management arrangements and importantly control measures encompassing principal mining hazards.
The development of principal mining hazard plans is about identifying the most significant hazards that may be present on a mine site and outlining the measures that will be taken to control the risks arising from those hazards. For example if ground stability is a significant issue it will be identified as a principal mining hazard and there needs to be a plan for how this will be controlled.
Not all mines are the same and the detail contained in the management system will depend on the nature and complexity of the mining operations and the risks associated with those operations. Small mines and quarries will have simpler management systems than a large mining operation.
Regulations set the minimum standard which must be applied to manage risks that are common to most mines. Mining operations can be high risk activities and regulators need to be notified of certain incidents that may occur in a mine. An Incident Notification form must be used to notify us as soon as possible following a high potential incident or an incident that results in injury or illness requiring medical treatment.
Involve and consult with your workers to:
- develop a Safety Management System
- identify Principal Mining Hazards
- prepare Principal Mining Hazard Plans
- check that specific control measures are in place for hazards
- make sure your emergency plans are up to date.
MAQOHSC is the Mining and Quarrying Occupational Health and Safety Committee
Underground Mine and Quarry Manager's Certificates (Department of the Premier and Cabinet)
These regulations are relevant for mines:
- communication between outgoing and incoming shifts - Regulation 630
- movement of mobile plant - Regulation 631
- prohibited use of certain items or substances - Regulation 632 and Schedule 20
- safe closure, suspension or abandonment of mines - Regulation 633
- minimum age of workers - Regulation 634
- air quality and monitoring - Regulations 635-639
Controls relevant to underground mines
- inrush hazards - Regulation 642
- connecting workings - Regulation 643
- winding systems - Regulation 644
- operation of shaft conveyances - Regulation 645
- dust explosion - Regulation 646
- air quality and monitoring (in addition to the general requirements see also Regulations 647-656)
- monitoring and testing of ventilation systems and development of ventilation plan - Regulations 653-656
Mine survey plans
The mine operator of a mine must ensure that a detailed survey plan of the mine is prepared by a competent person (Regulation 675S). If present at the mine, the plan must show the following:
- the workings of the mine, including disused workings and bore holes
- the location of electrical installations
- the location of telephones and other fixed plant associated with the radio and telecommunications systems
- water dams and tailings dams
- natural features surrounding the mine
- places for the storage of hydrocarbons or explosives
- points of entry and exit, including emergency exits
- refuges (in underground mines)
- reference to the Geocentric Datum of Australia and the Australian Height Datum (this is not required for opal mining).
The plan must be reviewed at least once every 12 months or at other times if the plan no longer accurately reflects the mine. It must be available for inspection by inspectors or on request by workers.