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NSW Mine Safety Regulator’s reporting sets benchmark

NSW mine Safety regulator Report

The NSW Mining Safety Regulator has released its quarterly safety report which has set a benchmark for regulatory transparency and public interest disclosure.

The regulator says that the “report was prepared by the NSW Resources Regulator to assist mine and petroleum site operators in meeting their obligations under relevant work, health, and safety legislation, including the Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Act 2013. It is also a way in which the NSW Resources Regulator monitors progress in implementing its risk-based Incident Prevention Strategy. “

While the NSW safety regulator, highlighted that 561 safety incident notifications were received during the 1st quarter of 2020 FY, it provided full disclosure by industry sector on incident types of incidents received, including information on its’ activities in the management and regulation of mine safety and petroleum safety across the state.

It said of the incident notifications, approximately 30% related to the work environment, 17% were vehicle or plant incidents and 11% related to key system failure.

The report additionally provides information on significant mining events in Australia and globally, summarises safety incident notifications, compliance activities and outcomes for the current quarter.

Industry personnel have welcomed the release of the report with one former senior mine inspector telling Australasian Mine Safety Journal that “the report goes above and beyond what regulators have disclosed publically.”

“It provides highly valuable, timely information for mines and other regulators to help prevent other incidents,” the former inspector said.

Queensland mine safety reporting ‘shambolic’

Despite a range of fatalities occurring across the Queensland mining industry and a significant number of high potential incidents, the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines (Queensland Mines Inspectorate) has remained tight-lipped on overall industry mine safety performance and no quarterly or annual report has been made publically available at the time of publication.

According to a review of its website, it has not provided public interest disclosure on a range of incidents across the sector. The last available annual report was released for the 2017-2018 year in May last year.

This has frustrated families of deceased mineworkers with some calling the Department’s lack of disclosure and action ‘shambolic’ and disrespectful to the fallen mineworkers.

The family of mineworker Jack Gerdes has been frustrated investigations were taking so long.

“There should be a more immediate response to those things; it doesn’t take a year to work out what’s wrong,” Mr Gerdes said.

In a statement, the Queensland Department of Mines of Natural Resources and Mines said investigations into fatalities took time.

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NSW mine safety report highlights ‘inaction’ by Queensland

A former mines inspector, on condition of anonymity, told AMSJ, that the NSW mine safety report has highlighted the ‘inaction’ of the Queensland mine safety regulator to address basic public interest disclosure.

“Reports issued by the NSW Mining Safety Regulator clearly help the wider industry understand the issues at hand and adopt appropriate responses to improve mine safety” he said.

“You would have to wonder why the Queensland Mine Safety regulator is reactive in all its’ actions,” he said.

“We haven’t seen an adequate response or disclosure into the many fatalities and high potential incidents that have occurred across the Queensland mining industry over the last twelve months…it amounts to unconscionable conduct by public officials”

You can find the NSW Mining Safety regulator’s report here

Image: NSW Mine Safety Regulator Report Cover

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