New WHS (Mines Act) for NSW mining industry

The NSW Parliament passed the Work Health and Safety (Mines) Act 2013 on 25 June 2013. The Act was assented on 1 July 2013 but will not commence until the making of the supporting Work Health and Safety (Mines) Regulation.

The Work Health and Safety (Mines) Act 2013 is another important step towards the harmonisation of work health and safety laws for mining.

The Work Health and Safety (Mines) Regulation that will support the Work Health and Safety (Mines) Act 2013 is currently being drafted based on the national model WHS (Mines) Regulation and the additional tri-state mining provisions agreed by NSW, Queensland and Western Australia.

A comprehensive public consultation process will be undertaken on the draft Work Health and Safety (Mines) Regulation for NSW. The process will include the release of a public consultation draft of the regulation, a discussion paper and a regulatory impact statement.

Further information about the public consultation process will be provided soon.

Work Health and Safety (Mines) Act 2013 

National harmonisation of work health and safety laws

Each Australian government is responsible for making and enforcing its own laws and, as a result, there are differences between the laws in each jurisdiction.

The intention of the national harmonisation process is to make the work health and safety laws of each state and territory similar (harmonised) so that workers can have the same protections across all Australian borders.

The NSW Government is currently working with other Australian states and territories to develop both national work health and safety laws, which will come into effect January 2012, and a nationally consistent mine health and safety regime. 

New laws commenced 1 Jan 2012

The NSW Work Health & Safety Act 2011 (WHS), Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (Regulation) and a number of Codes of Practice came into effect on 1 January 2012. The WHS Act and the Regulation can be found on the NSW Legislation website www.legislation.nsw.gov.au 

Codes of Practice are available on the NSW WorkCover website. The Codes of Practice are:

  1. How to manage work health and safety risks
  2. Work Health and Safety Consultation Cooperation and Coordination
  3. Managing the work environment and facilities
  4. Managing noise and preventing hearing loss at work
  5. Hazardous manual tasks
  6. Confined spaces
  7. How to prevent falls at the workplace
  8. Labelling of workplace hazardous materials
  9. Preparation of safety data sheets for hazardous chemicals
  10. How to manage and control asbestos in the workplace
  11. How to safely remove asbestos

Interpretive guidelines

Safe Work Australia has issued three interpretive guidelines which provide guidance on the interpretation of various concepts withing the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. The guidelines are available for downloading below.

The meaning of a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU)

The meaning of reasonably practicable

The health and safety duty of an officer

Your questions answered

Answers to questions about the new WHS legislation are published below.

FAQ's on the new WHS legislation

Do you have any queries about the new legislation? If you do then send your questions to mine.safety@industry.nsw.gov.au

 

Information 

A national resource for information on the proposed new laws including background, timeline, summary and frequently asked questions is available at:
www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au

Information for NSW organisations is available from WorkCover NSW at:
www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/newlegislation2012

National Mine Safety Framework (NMSF)

Information on the proposed NMSF including background, strategies and interaction between the NMSF and the WHS Act is available at:
www.ret.gov.au/resources/mining/framework