New WA mining safety legislation on the board

The WA Department of Mines and Petroleum has given the greenlight to modernise mining safety legislation in the state.

Mining minister Bill Marmion has also announced the WA Government's support for the new Resources Safety Bill.

Speaking on the development of the legislation, WA DMP Resources Safety Division executive director Simon Ridge said the bill will help to modernise and harmonise the state's mine safety regulation with other jurisdictions.

“The Bill will initially cover mines safety, replacing the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994,” Ridge explained.

“The new mines safety legislation will incorporate the best elements of the nationally-developed model Work Health and Safety legislation and the National Mine Safety Framework.

“However, it is also important to recognise that some aspects that work in other jurisdictions may not apply to WA.

“Aspects of the model laws that don’t suit the WA context will be amended or removed altogether.”

Marmion added that the legislation is an important step in reducing the risk of harm in Western Australia's mining industry.

In the first six months of this year the state's mining industry has recorded more than five deaths related the resources industry, after last year achieving 12 months with zero fatalities recorded.

(Graph: Number of deaths in Australia related to the mining industry.)

Marmion explained "the intention is to place a greater focus on risk management and to be less prescriptive".

“The onus will be placed on industry to demonstrate they understand the hazards and have control measures in place.”

Ridge said a Ministerial Advisory Panel on Safety Legislation Reform has been established with both industry and the unions to ensure a wider perspective.

“The Panel has met four times since it was established in January 2014, making recommendations to the department and the Minister on the development and implementation of the reforms,” he added.

There is also the potential for including safety legislation for petroleum and major hazard facilities later in the year.

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