The NSW Resources Regulator has announced updates to its compliance priorities for the second half of 2018 to improve safety at mining operations in New South Wales.
The Resources Regulator plans to launch six initiatives to reduce risks at mining sites for the remainder of the year: a campaign to protect against falls from and collisions with vehicles; an inspection campaign to stress the importance of changing geological conditions on worker safety; an awareness campaign to reduce the likelihood of tailings materials leaking off-site; improvements to the clarity and enforceability of mining leases to ensure only safe operations are permitted to go ahead; encouraging equipment manufacturers to build drill rigs with isolation systems to protect operators; and highlighting the importance of communication and effective road design to minimise the risk of traffic accidents at mining operations.
The department is responsible for compliance and enforcement functions across NSW’s mining and energy sectors, focusing primarily on ensuring operations are compliant with government regulations to improve safety. The most recent regulations enforced by the department are the 2014 and 2017 Work Health and Safety Regulations, and the 2016 Mining Regulation.
The Resources Regulator says of its role: “The focus of the strategic approach will help ensure we achieve our vision of a safe and responsible mining, extractive and petroleum industry. By focusing on business improvement through a unified and integrated regulatory approach; and leveraging off strong industry engagement and partnerships, we are confident that we can deliver on our mission of enabling and supporting industry to understand and fulfil its obligations.”
The department also stresses that creating a culture of personal and environmental protection, and frequently educating and advising members of the industry, are key elements of its role alongside enforcing regulations. It updates its priorities for the NSW mining sector every six months to ensure its initiatives are up-to-date.
NSW has historically contributed significantly to injuries and deaths in Australian mines; there were 53 deaths in NSW operations in 2016, equal to 29% of all deaths in Australian mines, the highest percentage of all Australian states.