Major steps in the consistency of workplace health and safety laws in the NSW mining industry have come into effect.
From 1 September 2008 workplace health and safety laws applying to the NSW mining industry are the same as those applying to all other industries in the State.
Permanent and contractor workers in the NSW mining industry will now enjoy the same basic safety protections as workers in all other industries.
According to the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (DPI), it also means that contractors will be able to move between industries knowing that the same basic legal requirements apply.
Under the reforms, the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 2001 applies to the State’s mining industry in full from 1 September 2008.
This regulation covers a broad range of nationally agreed standards on manual handling and noise, dangerous goods and hazardous substances and various classes of high-risk work.
According to the DPI, additional reforms will be made to ensure the safety standards applying in the State’s metalliferous and extractive industries are second to none, with the commencement of the Mine Health and Safety Act 2004 and the Mine Health and Safety Regulation 2007.
This legislation adds to the protection provided under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 by setting out supplementary safety measures needed to protect the State’s mining workers, according to a DPI statement.
The DPI and WorkCover NSW have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to ensure safety laws are administered in a consistent manner.
Under the MOU, WorkCover NSW will deliver a range of administrative services to the mining industry while NSW DPI will retain responsible for ensuring compliance with the laws.