A new lead auditor training program and in-principle agreement to implement principle hazard treatment have been announced by the WA Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP).
The changes are the latest safety reforms in the industry, and DMP Acting Director General Tim Griffin says they are important in ensuring mining is safe and effective.
“These are some important milestones and demonstrate the department’s commitment to safety reforms within the Western Australian resources sector,” DMP Acting Director General Dr Tim Griffin said.
“The goal is to ensure the Resources Safety Division has the appropriate capacity, competency and legislative framework to regulate an expanding industry well into the future.
He says the changes will provide additional employment and opportunities for industry participation in a training and development program.
“This means employing more staff, including inspectors, improving our systems, and providing further training and development for staff.”
The training will be offered in Bunbury, Kalgoorlie and again in Perth in early 2011.
Griffin says at the recent Lead Auditor Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems Training seven of the last twenty participants were industry representatives.
“These participants come from the sectors we regulate,” Dr Griffin said.
“This training allows maximum communication, mutual understanding and networking opportunities between inspectors and industry professionals, and helps industry and the regulator to understand each other’s roles.
“This is vital as we look to improve the safety culture across the Western Australian resources sector.”
The aim is for Resources Safety inspectors and dangerous goods officers dealing with major hazard facilities to be qualified in lead auditing.
“This will ensure inspectors have nationally recognised lead auditing skills, and further supports risk management safety regulation,” Dr Griffin said.
Another important development was the in-principle agreement for WA mining operations to prepare principle hazard management plans (PHMP) for major hazards.
“A PHMP means mine operators must identify all hazards arising in their mining operations that could cause a fatality, identify what controls need to be in place to manage these hazards, validate the effectiveness of these controls and ensure that this process is supported, and owned, at all levels of the operation,” Dr Griffin said.
“When developing site-specific PHMPs, companies will be required to consult with a representative group of workers with the appropriate skills, knowledge and exposure from relevant levels in the organisation.
“This includes workers directly involved in the activity being assessed.
“The next step in the process for the safety regulator will be to further develop the plans and commence consultation with industry on the implementation strategy.”
It is proposed that industry submit a PHMP once every three years or when there is a significant change to operations.