Why is reporting important?

How reports are used

Reporting of accidents and incidents is important on two levels:

  • to be compliant under the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994 and the Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995
  • for mining and exploration operations to develop a resilient safety culture.

Late reporting can have a significant effect on the final figures used by the department to measure safety performance for the mining industry for each financial year.

A lag in reporting delays the release of statistics that can be used by industry to identify trends and respond in kind.

Timely reporting also allows sites to recognise clusters and trends of incidents, including potentially serious incidents (i.e. near misses). This, in turn, provides an opportunity for management to address root causes.

When reporting is done well and acted upon, it can help engender a consistent mindset of wariness, and provide opportunities for reform rather than repair. Reporting is important if resilient safety cultures are to become the industry norm.

What could happen if incident reporting is …

Not done?

  • Hazard may not be identified
  • Incorrect assumptions may be made about exposure to hazard and associated risks
  • Risk assessment may be flawed because it does not include all knowledge for the workplace or activity
  • Outcome for the next person may not be so favourable.

Not done well?

  • Risk assessment may be inadequate
  • Control measures could be ineffective because they are based on insufficient or incorrect information.

Not followed up?

  • If there is no remedial action, there is still exposure to the hazard
  • People stop reporting because they think it is a waste of time when nothing happens
  • Are manufacturers advised that there could be an issue with their equipment or product? If they aren’t aware there is a problem, how will they know to recall or redesign it?

Not recorded?

  • Loss of operational knowledge
  • No opportunity to identify trends or clusters of incidents over time (i.e. lessons learnt can be lost).

Followed up but outcomes not communicated?

  • Workers may not know there have been changes in the safety system and they need to modify their work practices
  • A lack of positive reinforcement decreases the value of reporting.

Who should make a report?

Everyone has a duty to report incidents to their supervisor or manager, whether or not someone is hurt. This obligation applies to:

  • employees
  • self-employed persons
  • contractors and their employees.

For the self-employed and contracting companies, the incident also needs to be communicated to the mining or exploration operation they are engaged by. The mine manager or exploration manager can then submit a report to the Safety Regulation System (SRS).

What information is publicly available?

Mining incidents reported to Resources Safety since January 2010 have been edited and made available to the public as summaries for industry awareness. This resource is updated regularly and can be interrogated, viewed and the results exported to a Microsoft Excel file for analysis via the Safety Regulation System (SRS).

Search Summaries for industry awareness by the date, incident type and the operational area through the Safety Regulation System (SRS).

Information reported in monthly status reports is analysed and released as annual statistics reports and posters. These can be used to identify potential trends and implement strategies.

You can search for the safety performance reports and posters in the Safety statistics area and download them as a PDF.

Learning from incidents

While unwelcome, it is important to learn from incidents to help:

  • reduce the potential for a recurrence
  • minimise losses to both the workforce and production
  • reduce the effect of any future incident.

The department publishes Significant Incident Reports and Safety Bulletins on reported incidents and accidents. These safety alerts allow information to be communicated to industry with the hope that similar incidents can be prevented.

Significant Incidents Reports cover individual incidents or accidents.

Safety Bulletins are produced to highlight safety concerns where there has been a cluster or trend of similar incidents, whether in Western Australia or worldwide.

You can search for significant incident reports and safety bulletins in the Safety alerts area and download them as a PDF.