The Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Act 2013 and the Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Regulation 2014 commenced on 1 February 2015. The laws increased harmonisation between the different states and territories of Australia.

Many transitional provisions under the WHS (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Regulation will end on 1 February 2017. This means mines will need to have prepared or updated and implemented a safety management system and various principal hazard and principal control plans by 31 January 2017.

Download the quick guide to the new WHS (Mines and Petroleum Sites) laws [PDF, 63.91 KB], which provides an overview of the new laws including key concepts, key transitional arrangements and key provisions that will apply from the commencement of the new laws.

Overview of transitional arrangements

To help you comply with the WHS (Mines and Petroleum Sites) legislation, a range of transitional arrangements have been put in place. Key transitional arrangements include:

  • existing certificates of competence are intended to be recognised as certificates of competence under the new WHS (Mines and Petroleum Sites) laws
  • where a practising certificate is now required in addition to a certificate of competence, it is intended that a person holding the certificate of competence will be deemed to have the practising certificate
  • existing appointments of mine operators are recognised as appointments of a mine operator under the WHS (Mines and Petroleum Sites) laws. Approval of a mine operator is recognised as notification of a mine operator under WHS laws.

For more detailed information read:

Guidance on the new laws

More detailed information on the Legislation guidance page.

Consultation arrangements

The WHS (Mines and Petroleum Sites) laws build on the general requirements in the WHS legislation for consultation with workers as well as the requirement for consultation, cooperation and coordination between persons conducting a business or undertaking. Read the fact sheet about consulting workers [PDF, 132.05 KB] for guidance on requirements for consulting workers in the mining industry across the general and mining WHS laws.

Contractors

The WHS (Mines and Petroleum Sites) laws make particular provision for contractors at mines. Read the guide about contractors and other businesses at mines and petroleum sites [PDF, 166.12 KB] for more information.

Safety and health representatives in coal mines

Safety and health representative is the new name for check inspectors in coal mines. Read the fact sheet about safety and health representatives [PDF, 131.06 KB] for more information.

Statutory functions

Schedule 10 of the WHS (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Regulation identifies a series of functions for different classes of mine that are known as 'statutory functions'. Only people meeting specified requirements are eligible to be nominated by the mine operator to exercise a statutory function.

The guide about statutory functions [PDF, 229.21 KB[ provides information about statutory functions and includes tables that set out the following for each class of mine:

  • the title and description of each function
  • whether a practising certificate is required to perform that function
  • proposed eligibility for requirements for performing the function (including eligibility to obtain a practising certificate). Note that these matters will be addressed by a gazette order.

The mine record

The fact sheet about the mine or petroleum site record [PDF, 135.95 KB] provides guidance on keeping a mine record.

Tourist mines

For more information on what is considered a tourist mine and what the requirements are for operating a tourist mine under the WHS (Mines and Petroleum Sites) legislation, go to the tourist mines topic page.

Mining exploration

The Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Act 2013 and regulation apply to activities carried out for the purposes of exploring for minerals (including coal). See our mining exploration topic page for more information.

Opal and gemstone mining

The WHS (Mines and Petroleum Sites) legislation applies to activities carried out for the purposes of extracting minerals, including opals. The laws don't apply to an activity carried out in relation to fossicking or the extraction of minerals on private land for private and non-commercial use by the owner of the land. See our opal and gemstone mining topic page for more information.

Incidents and injuries

There are two types of incidents that require information to be given to the regulator - notifiable incidents and other incidents. These may relate to any person – whether an employee, contractor or member of the public and failure to notify is an offence and penalties apply. See the guide about notification of incidents and injuries [PDF, 182.63 KB] for more information.

High risk activities

The high risk activities scheme under the WHS (Mines and Petroleum Sites) legislation allows the regulator to review the arrangements for proposed high risk activities to assess the adequacy of the planning and controls. However, the scheme does not require the regulator to approve activities and the responsibility for ensuring that activities are conducted safely remains with the mine or petroleum site operator.

A mine or petroleum site operator is prohibited from undertaking high risk activities unless they have notified the regulator of the proposed high risk activity and the waiting period for that activity has expired (unless the regulator has waived or reduced the waiting period). For more information, see the Notifying the regulator of a high risk activity form [DOCX, 6384.82 KB].

Managing risk

Persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs), including mine and petroleum sites operators and contractors, have a primary duty to ensure the health and safety of workers they engage, or whose work activities they influence or direct. This includes managing risks. See the guides for more information about managing risks in mining [PDF, 165.11 KB] or managing risks in petroleum operations [PDF, 72.41 KB].