Minerals safety legislation

What safety legislation applies to mining operations?

Act and regulations

There are two pieces of legislation that define the standards of occupational safety and health for Western Australian mining operations.

Western Australian legislation is also available in hard copy format from the State Law Publisher.

What about the mines safety levy?

The Mines Safety and Inspection Levy Regulations 2010 provide the mechanism for collecting a levy to support regulatory activities associated with mines safety.

Other legislation

Legislation relating to dangerous goods may also apply to mining operations. Mining operators should be aware of their responsibilities under the dangerous goods safety legislation.

For further guidance, refer to Dangerous goods safety legislation

National and state reform programs that aim to streamline and improve the regulation of workplace health and safety are currently underway.

Introduction to the mines safety legislation

A series of pamphlets is available that summarises information on what employers and workers need to know about the Mine Safety and Inspection Act 1994.

The pamphlets provide general guidance only. The relevant legislation should be consulted for detailed information.

The Mines Safety and Inspection Act (MSIA) pamphlets are available at Publications and resources

What is the general duty of care?

The Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994 imposes general duty of care provisions to maintain safe and healthy workplaces at mining operations and protect people at work from hazards.

General duty of care obligations apply to:

  • employers
  • employees
  • contractors and their employees
  • labour hire agents and workers
  • people involved in the design, supply, installation and maintenance of plant.

The Act outlines the obligations of each group and provides penalties for any breaches of those obligations to help prevent unsafe situations. It provides a framework where the general duty of care is supported by consultation, cooperation, workplace standards and procedures to resolve issues. The concept of general duty of care is the guiding principle for all other parts of the Act.

The Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995 describe some of the requirements that apply to specific work situations. While the regulations must be complied with, the overriding responsibility is to comply with the general duties in the Act.

General duty of care in Western Australian mines - guideline - 3442 Kb

General duty of care in Western Australian mines - guideline: The purpose of this guideline is to provide guidance on the ‘general duty of care’ provisions of the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994.

General duty of care - employees and employers - MSIA pamphlet - 2011 Kb

This pamphlet contains information on general duty of care for employees and employers in relation to the Mines Safety and Inspection Act.

Benefits of good self-regulation (2012) - 920 Kb

This toolbox presentation explains the benefits of good self-regulation, what it means and the relationship between government control and self-regulation.

Duty of care applied to mineral exploration (2008) - 1506 Kb

This toolbox presentation contains information about the duty of care applied to mineral exploration.

Duty of care under the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994 (2008) - 688 Kb

This toolbox presentation contains information about the duty of care under the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994.

What is an instrument of declaration?

An instrument of declaration allows matters that are normally covered by mine safety legislation to be transferred temporarily to the jurisdiction of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984, such as construction work at some mine sites.

Further information and a list of current instruments of declaration are available from WorkSafe.

Declarations are published in the Government Gazette, available from the State Law Publisher.

Exemptions from Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995

Specific exemptions

A company may seek an exemption from a specific regulation in the Mines Safety and Inspection Regulation 1995. For the exemption to be granted, the State Mining Engineer must be satisfied that:

  • there is substantial compliance with the requirement (see r. 1.4)
  • compliance with the requirement would be unnecessary or impracticable (see r. 1.5).

The pro-forma available in Applying for a mines safety exemption can be used to assist in applying for an exemption.

Refer to rr. 1.4 and 1.5 of Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995

General exemptions

The State Mining Engineer may also issue general exemptions from the provisions of the Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995. These apply across all mining operations.

General exemptions are published in the Government Gazette, available from the State Law Publisher.

The current general exemptions are listed below.

General exemption: Approval for a fit person to inspect classified plant [r.6.40(1) and r.6.40(3)] - 88 Kb

This is a general exemption: Approval for a fit person to inspect classified plant

General exemption: Cables installed in the ground - orange marker tape [r.5.31(1)(b)] - 35 Kb

‘Horizontal line boring’ is a relatively new method of installing buried cables and can provide significant economic and environmental benefits by obviating the need to excavate trenches in the ground.

General exemption: Cables installed in the ground - steel wire armouring and corrugated steel sheathing [r.5.31(1)(c)(i)] - 58 Kb

‘Buried direct’ means cables which are installed in physical contact with the surrounding ground and which are not contained within any form of acceptable wiring enclosure.

General exemption: Earth leakage protection device [r.5.24(1)(b)] - 58 Kb

This exemption is issued subject to a condition that the equipment is installed, maintained and operated by competent persons in accordance with documented systems of work which minimise the risk of injury to persons.

General exemption: Notice of registration process of diesel unit used underground [r.10.50, 10.51(1), (2), (3), (4)(c) and 10.57(1)] - 27 Kb

The provisions of regulation 10.50 of the Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995 currently deal with the notice of registration process for a diesel unit to be used in an underground mine.

General exemption: Opacity of exhaust emission [r.10.55] - 28 Kb

In accordance with the provisions of MRA Regulation 1.5, I have decided to issue a general exemption to the industry from compliance with Regulation 10.55 (Opacity of Exhaust Emission).

General exemption: Pressure vessels categorised as hazard level D or E [6.33(c)] - 15 Kb

Pursuant to Regulation 1.5 of the Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations1995

General exemption: Registration of certain classified plant [r.6.34(1)] - 67 Kb

General exemption from provisions of Regulation 6.34(1) of the Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995 in respect of the registration of certain classified plant

General exemption: Submission and certification of mine plans [r.3.53] - 466 Kb

This is a general exemption: Submission and certification of mine plans.

Revoked general exemptions

General exemptions may be either revoked (i.e. cancelled) or revoked and replaced with another by the State Mining Engineer.

Regulation 3.53

The general exemption issued on 28 May 2007 regarding the submission of mine plans was revoked on 17 September 2014. A new general exemption was issued that allows mine plans to be submitted as a PDF file rather than hard copy.

General exemption: Submission and certification of mine plans [r.3.53] - 466 Kb

This is a general exemption: Submission and certification of mine plans.

Regulations 6.34 and 6.34(1)

The general exemptions issued on:

  • 14 June 2010 [r 6.34] and 9 December 2003 [r. 6.34(1)] regarding the registration of certain classified plant
  • 21 December 2006 [r. 6.34(1)] )] regarding the registration of certain itinerant classified plant

were revoked on 17 June 2013 and a new general exemption issued to clarify the requirements for the registration of certain classified plant.

General exemption: Registration of certain classified plant [r.6.34(1)] - 67 Kb

General exemption from provisions of Regulation 6.34(1) of the Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995 in respect of the registration of certain classified plant

Regulations 3.52(2) and 26(2)e

The general exemption issued on 18 July 1996 regarding the requirements for routine chest x-rays was revoked on 12 January 2013. Routine chest x-rays are no longer necessary following the cessation of the requirement for initial and periodic health assessments.

Regulations 4.2 and 6.33

The general exemptions issued on:

  • 23 November 2009 [r. 4.2] regarding the Australian Standard for safe working in a confined space
  • 18 December 2007 [r. 6.33] regarding Australian Standards for boilers, cranes, hoists, pressure vessels and lifts

were revoked on 11 January 2013, following the amendment of regulation 1.3 to change the definition of Australian Standards.