When mines inspectors become aware of non-compliance with the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994 or related regulations, they may issue:
- verbal directions
- written directions
- commence prosecution action.
Written directions are known as improvement notices or prohibition notices. Only inspectors may issue these notices.
To find out more about more refer to the pamphlet below:
What is an improvement notice?
An inspector may issue an improvement notice when the inspector is of the opinion that the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994 or a related regulation:
- is being contravened
- has been contravened in circumstances that make it likely that the contravention will continue or be repeated.
Safety and health representatives can issue a similar notice called a provisional improvement notice (PIN). To find out more, go to What are provisional improvement notices for a mining operation?
What is a prohibition notice?
An inspector may issue an improvement notice when the inspector is of the opinion that:
- the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994 or related regulation is being contravened, or has been contravened
- in circumstances that make it likely that the contravention will continue or be repeated.
- the contravention creates a hazard or is likely to create a hazard to any person
- the mine, plant, mining practice or hazardous substance at, or related to the mine, is dangerous or likely to become dangerous to any person and urgent action is required.
A prohibition notice is essentially an order to stop an activity or remove a hazard considered to be dangerous or likely to become dangerous.
A prohibition notice may require the person who has control of the circumstances, which may be the principal employer or registered manager, to:
- stop work at the mine or a specified part of the mine
- refrain from doing any specified thing at or in relation to the mine
- remove all persons from the mine or a specified part of the mine.
There may be conditions imposed in relation to the prohibition.
The notice remains in force until the inspector is satisfied that the matter has been remedied.
Recording the notice
On receiving a notice from an inspector, the manager of the mine must:
- provide a copy of the notice to the principal employer — the employer then must take all reasonable steps to ensure the notice is complied with
- display the notice at the mine site
- fix a copy in the mine record book.
Notice of the action taken and the completion of the remedial action should be posted at the site and in the mine record book.
If a review of the notice is requested, a copy of the request for review must also be attached to the mine record book.
Requesting a review of a notice
The mine manager or the principal employer may refer a notice to the State Mining Engineer for review within the following timeframes:
- improvement notices – before the remedy date on the notice
- prohibition notices – within 7 days of the date of the notice.
During the review process:
- an improvement notice is suspended
- a prohibition notice remains in effect unless the State Mining Engineer gives written permission to the contrary.
The State Mining Engineer can cancel, uphold or modify the notice.
The notice must be complied with if it is upheld or modified and there is no appeal. Failure to comply is an offence under the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994.
Appealing the State Mining Engineer’s decision following a review
The State Mining Engineer’s decision may be appealed to the Occupational Safety and Health Tribunal.
The Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission has more details on referrals and lodging applications with the Occupational Safety and Health Tribunal.