Mine Safety Regulation: Towards A National Approach

Underground » Health and Safety

Published: March 10Project Number: C19002

Get ReportAuthor: Neil Gunningham and Darren Sinclair | Gunningham and Associates, Australian National University

The National Review on Model OHS legislation (the Review) provides a rare opportunity to establish best practice OHS legislation Australia-wide. The first stage of the national review process was generic and involved the development of a single uniform model Work Health and Safety Act. This Act is intended to address all workers, all workplaces and all industries and to address such matters as general duties, worker participation, offences and defences. In December 2009 all jurisdictions except Western Australia, agreed to enact the model OHS Act.

Mining specific content is not included in the model Act, raising the question whether separate mines-specific regulations and codes of practice should also be introduced. There are compelling reasons for doing so, set out at 2.1 below. It is these mining specific regulations and not the model Act per se, which is the subject of this ACARP Report.

The Report does not address the minutiae of such regulations but rather the broader principles that such regulations might embrace: whether and in what ways they should address risk management and management systems, the role, if any, of a safety case, whether the regulations should be prescriptive or performance and process based, whether there remains a distinctive role for industry check inspectors and a variety of other issues discussed below.

During the writing of this Report, Tasmania and South Australia both produced draft mine safety regulations and discussion papers or similar documents. Where appropriate, relevant provisions in those drafts that overlap with proposals made below are referred to in the text.

This report is intended to inform the development of a new regulatory regime that represents best practice and that will enable work related injury and disease to be reduced as effectively and as efficiently as practicable.

To assist the industry to grasp this opportunity the Report identifies key elements of best practice regulation internationally and within Australia, relates this to the OHS management practices of leading mining companies and takes account of the particular needs and circumstances of smaller coal mining companies. It also draws substantially on extensive interviews conducted with industry stakeholders, including representatives of large and medium sized mining enterprises, industry associations, regulators and trade unions.

Drawing on the above, this Report addresses key issues relating to best practice mine safety regulation. The policy discussion is intended to inform the Commonwealth's legislative reform process (proceeding via a NMSF legislative working group and the NMSF Steering Group).

Although the report draws on the views of industry stakeholders and others, it is not an industry position paper - it is a research paper expressing the views of the authors.


Health and safety, productivity and environment initiatives.

Recently Completed Projects

C34019Longwall Bretby Cable Handling Monitoring With Fibre Optics

This project examined the potential of using fibre optic sensing tec...

C27049Mine Machine Radar Sensor Integration

The aim of this project was to develop an integrated radar sensor an...

C29007Innovative Coal Burst System To Investigate The Influence Of Confinement Loss And Pre-Conditioning On Coal Burst Mechanism

The challenges associated with designing and operating a safe and pr...


Open Cut

Safety, productivity and the right to operate are priorities for open cut mine research.

Recently Completed Projects

C33035High Water Recovery, Low Cost Desalination Using PV-Powered Membrane Capacitive Deionisation (Mcdi)

Capacitive deionization is a robust, energy efficient and cost effec...

C28035Topsoil Deficits In Site Rehabilitation Accelerated Transformation Of Spoils To Functional Soils

The incorporation of commercial biological amendments (compost, worm...

C34036Tyre Handler Testing Rig Stage 2: Lifting Trials

Tyre handling is a major source of risk in surface mining operations...

Open Cut

Coal Preparation

Maximising throughput and yield while minimising costs and emissions.

Coal Preparation

Technical Market Support

Market acceptance and emphasising the advantages of Australian coals.

Technical Market Support

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from the production of coal.

Recently Completed Projects

C28076Selective Absorption Of Methane By Ionic Liquids (SAMIL)

This third and final stage of this project was the culmination of a ...

C29069Low-Cost Catalyst Materials For Effective VAM Catalytic Oxidation

Application of ventilation air methane (VAM) thermal oxidiser requir...

C23052Novel Stone Dust Looping Process For Ventilation Air Methane Abatement

This multi‐phase project is concerned with the mitigation of m...

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Low Emission Coal Use

Step-change technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C17060BGasification Of Australian Coals

Four Australian coals were trialled in the Siemens 5 MWth pilot scale ga...

C17060AOxyfuel Technology For Carbon Capture And Storage Critical Clean Coal Technology - Interim Support

The status of oxy-fuel technology for first-generation plant is indicate...

C18007Review Of Underground Coal Gasification

This report consists of a broad review of underground coal gasification,...

Low Emission Coal Use

Mining And The Community

The relationship between mines and the local community.

Recently Completed Projects

C16027Assessing Housing And Labour Market Impacts Of Mining Developments In Bowen Basin Communities

The focus of this ACARP-funded project has been to identify a number...

C22029Understanding And Managing Cumulative Impacts Of Coal Mining And Other Land Uses In Regions With Diversified Economies

The coal industry operates in the context of competing land-uses that sh...

C23016Approval And Planning Assessment Of Black Coal Mines In NSW And Qld: A Review Of Economic Assessment Techniques

This reports on issues surrounding economic assessment and analysis ...

Mining And The Community


National Energy Research,Development & Demonstration Council (NERDDC) reports - pre 1992.

Recently Completed Projects

1609-C1609Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

1301-C1301Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development...

Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development and Extraction Operations

0033-C1356Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals...

Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals - An Industry Handbook