Risk management approach to emergency preparedness

Who has duties in relation to emergency response?

The principal employer and manager of the mine have a duty of care to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that workers and other persons are not put at risk from work undertaken. In addition, mine operators are required to prepare an emergency plan when establishing and implementing a safety management system for the operation of the mine.

Part 4, Division 3 of the Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995 covers legislative requirements for emergency preparation, including the preparation of an emergency plan.

Refer to Part 4, Division 3 of Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995

Importance of emergency management

An emergency is an event, actual or imminent, that endangers or threatens to endanger life. A coordinated response is required to preserve life and prevent injury.

The potentially hazardous environment of mining operations means that emergency management and response planning are critical to the health and safety of workers.

Emergency management involves understanding the likelihood of an emergency occurring and its potential consequence. Effective emergency management means that plans are in place for all identified emergency scenarios so the response is comprehensive and coordinated.

A mine should be prepared for an emergency and any resulting injury to its workers if it develops and implements an effective emergency response plan (ERP). Preparations for emergencies cannot be left to the last minute.

Australian Emergency Management provides the key online access point for emergency management information from the Australian Government.

The Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation has prepared Guidance Note QGN15 – Emergency preparedness for small mines and quarries.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) have produced Good practice in emergency preparedness and response.

Risk management approach

Risk management is the process of identifying risk, assessing risk, and taking steps to reduce risk to an acceptable level. The risk management approach determines the processes, techniques, tools, and team roles and responsibilities. This involves:

  • identifying and analysing the hazards associated with potential emergency scenarios
  • determining appropriate control measures to eliminate or reduce the impact of hazards
  • implementing those control measures, including emergency response plans
  • conducting a post-emergency review of the effectiveness of the emergency response plan.

The risk management plan describes how risk management will be structured and performed on the project. It seeks to address the following.

  • What are the potential hazardous scenarios?
  • What potential incidents may occur?
  • What are the consequences or impacts of the incidents in terms of safety and health?
  • How probable is this impact?
  • What are the controls?
  • What resources are required?
  • Complete life cycle of plan.

Related information

A high impact function audit has been prepared to assist in emergency planning.

Emergency preparedness – audit guide - 561 Kb

This audit guideline provides information on the emergency preparedness template audit.

Frequently asked questions on self-auditing of mining activities - information sheet - 942 Kb

This information sheet outlines the frequently asked questions on self-auditing of mining activities.

SafeWork Australia has produced a Code of practice – Emergency response that may be useful.