DPI UPDATE (Issue 21)

By on May 13, 2005

National Mine Safety Policy

Dr W J McKay, Geoscience Australia

The Ministerial Council on Mineral and Petroleum Resources (MCMPR) was established by the Council of Australian Governments in 2001to subsume the minerals and upstream petroleum component of the former Australian and New Zealand Minerals and Energy Council (ANZMEC).

The MCMPR consists of the Commonwealth Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources and State and Territory Ministers with responsibility for minerals and petroleum. Its mission is to contribute to national well being by promoting the progressive and sustainable development of the Australian minerals and petroleum industries.

At the inaugural meeting of the MCMPR in 2002, Ministers endorsed the Strategic Framework for Mine Safety, Realising a Safe and Healthy Mining Industry – the Contribution of Government. The Council’s Sub-Committee of Chief Inspectors of Mines (SCIM), formerly a technical task force under ANZMEC and known as the Conference of Chief Inspectors of Mines, is driving the implementation of this important policy objective,referred to as the National Mine Safety Framework (NMSF).

In 1996, the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) made safety and health its top priority, agreed on a statement of vision and beliefs,a safety awareness definition and established its Safety and Health Committee.

In 1998, ANZMEC following discussions between representatives of its Standing Committee of Officials and the MCA, sanctioned a Mine Safety Task force (MST) proposal to establish a national strategic framework for improving safety and health performance in the mining industry. To give effect to the proposal the MST, with representatives drawn from Victoria (Chair), New South Wales, South Australia, Northern Territory and the Commonwealth, was charged with developing the framework.

Following consultations between the States, Northern Territory and Commonwealth, the draft principles and key goals of the framework were agreed in 2000. Thereafter for reasons largely related to machinery of government changes within some jurisdictions and the decision to restructure ANZMEC, finalisation and agreement of the NMSF did not follow until early 2002.

While the primary responsibility for safety and health rests with employers and employees, Governments have an important contribution to make in support of both parties. Indeed, the MCMPR identified safety as one of the issues that can impact on the competitiveness and sustainability of the minerals industry. There are significant benefits to be achieved in the adoption of consistent best practice in safety management by all stakeholders in the industry, as many employers operate in more than one State and employees move between companies and jurisdictions.

The NMSF was prepared in consultation with stakeholders in each jurisdiction and represents views from across Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. It is consistent with the National OHS Strategy 2002–2012 and identifies means by which Governments can contribute to this national over-arching framework in relation to the exploration, mining and processing sectors. The overall goal of the NMSF on implementation will be to achieve a uniform nationwide approach to mine safety by:

  • enhancing industry confidence through a clear and unambiguous approach to mine safety issues across Australia;
  • removing duplication of effort, thereby reducing the costs of compliance and administration at both industry and Government levels; and
  • providing an environment within which further innovation and improvement can be fostered collaboratively and cost-effectively.


The purpose of the NMFS is to support a safe and healthy minerals industry through outcomes that:

  • deliver consistency within the industry and across jurisdictions;
  • encourage action by stakeholders at an enterprise level;
  • focus on continuous improvement, innovation and best practice; and
  • recognise that responsibility for health and safety at mine sites rests with employers and employees, while ensuring that senior management remains accountable for leadership.

To achieve these outcomes, the NMSF sets out seven goals:

  1. Establishment of a consistent legislative framework based on a general ‘duty of care’ approach to OH&S
  2. Achievement of continuous skills development and competency, within a national context, through support and promotion of appropriate training agencies and networks
  3. Development of a cooperative approach to providing advisory information for duty holders to assist them in achieving compliance, where necessary recognising different needs such as those of small- and large scale enterprises.
  4. Development of a nationally consistent approach to enforcement, which provides clear and consistent standards for duty holders and supports equitable outcomes across jurisdictions.
  5. Development of nationally consistent and reliable safety and health datasets, in partnership with the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission, which enable comparison across jurisdictions and between industries.
  6. Establishment of effective approaches to consultation with stakeholders and between jurisdictions in relation to OSH within the
  7. Establishment of appropriate strategies and mechanisms for governments to support effective research into OSH in the industry.

Mobile Plant Project

John Mitas, Operations Manager, DPI

In the last year there were eleven rollover incidents involving mobile plant in mines and quarries. All the incidents had the potential to cause serious injury or a fatality.

Soon inspectors from the Minerals and Extractive Operations Group will be conducting unannounced visits to mines and quarries across the state regardless of size and risk profile to assess the safety of mobile equipment used at your worksites.

The inspectors will be reviewing critical controls that you have in place to ensure that your operators and your work force are safe. Traffic management, haul road design and layout, speed, training, operator fatigue, edge protection, working at heights, design of plant, ground conditions and supervision are some of the recurring themes within our industry.

Incidents and near misses can provide valuable information on how your safety management systems and your critical controls are working. You should encourage your people to report the near misses and to set up a process of investigation and review of your current controls.

Mobile Plant Workshop – Legislative Update

Graeme McLaughlin, DPI

For those who were unable to attend the Mobile Plant Workshop in March, Graeme McLaughlin of the DPI gave a comprehensive presentation on the Hazards and Risks associated with the operation of mobile plant equipment.

Following on from this presentation Graeme received several requests for details of where the current Victorian legislation could be obtained. For the benefit of the broader audience, Graeme has kindly provided us with the following :

Option 1:
Download from Website: www.dms.dpc.vic.gov.au

Option 2:
Retail/mail order: Information Victoria, 365 Collins Street, Melbourne
Phone: 1300 366 356
Fax: 03 9603 9920

Option 3:
Mail order: Anstat Customer Services, PO Box 447, South Melbourne
Phone: 03 9278 1144
Fax: 03 9278 1145

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