24th October 2017

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment’s Resources Regulator has announced it has accepted an enforceable undertaking from Coal and Allied (NSW) Pty Ltd, following the Regulator’s investigation into the company for alleged breaches of section 32 of the Workplace Health and Safety Act.

In October 2016, the Regulator began proceedings against Coal and Allied (NSW) Pty Ltd (formerly Rio Tinto Coal (NSW) Pty Ltd) after an incident that occurred at Mount Thorley Warkworth mine on 2 October 2014. The incident saw a worker seriously injured after falling from a grader at the mine.

In response, Coal and Allied submitted a proposal for an "enforceable undertaking", which is a legally binding agreement proposed by a company following an alleged breach which may be considered as an alternative to prosecution.

As part of the undertaking Coal and Allied have committed to a range of actions with a financial commitment of at least $677,000. This is in addition to an estimated $500,000 already spent on works carried out because of the incident.

A key component of the undertaking is the development and delivery of a project that is targeted at school leavers.

As part of the project an educational program incorporating a short film using virtual reality and a mobile app will be developed and trialled at two local schools.

The project will be subject to an independent review and resources will be made freely available to create a long-term education program.

After careful consideration, the undertaking was accepted as it provided for significantly better outcomes than prosecution alone would achieve.

"This case serves as a timely reminder to mining operators of their obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act," NSW Resources Regulator Chief Compliance Officer Anthony Keon said.

"The undertaking by Coal and Allied is considered significant, and rightfully so, and has the real potential to create considerable, and broad, industry reach by focusing on the next generation of workers in the mining and other high-risk industries."

The company must regularly report on its compliance with the undertaking and reimburse the Regulator’s costs in monitoring compliance.

Copies of the Enforceable Undertaking and decision are published on the Resources Regulator’s website.