Guidance about small mines safety – Open pits and quarries

Overview of legal requirements

The Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994 (the MSI Act) and Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995 apply to some quarries and sand pits that produce product for sale or commercial use in Western Australia even where they’re exempt from the Mining Act 1978. Contact the mines safety inspectorate to determine whether your quarry or pit is subject to the Act.

Contact the Parliamentary Counsel's Office if hard copies of the legislation are required.

If the MSI Act and associated regulations do apply and the operation is considered to be a small mine, the operation must:

  • have an approved project management plan
  • have an acknowledged heath and hygiene management plan
  • notify the Department’s District Inspector of Mines before commencing, recommencing, suspending or abandoning any part of your operation
  • appoint key personnel such as the Registered Manager and Quarry Manager.

Having an extractive industries license doesn’t negate the above requirements, though depending on the location of the quarry or pit, an extractive industry licence may also be required. Contact the local council or shire for information about any licensing requirements.

The summaries of legislation provided here provide general guidance only and are not a substitute for reading the MSI Act and regulations.

Project management plans

Under the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994 (the Act) and associated regulations, an operator must prepare a project management plan (PMP) before any mining operation commences. This must be submitted for assessment to the State Mining Engineer, and approved prior to start-up.

The PMP is used to identify potential major safety risks for the proposed operations, and acts as a starting point for developing ongoing safety management strategies to address those risks. A guide and checklist are available below to help with the submission process.

PMPs should be submitted online using the Safety Regulation System - Approvals

Online assistance when completing the PMP is available if required.

Checklist for submission of a project management plan (PMP) - template - 126 Kb

This is checklist on the submission of a project management plan (PMP).

Submission of a project management plan (PMP) - guide - 105 Kb

This guide provides information on legislative requirements, submission of a PMP, content of the PMP and a checklist.

What is the Safety Regulation System (SRS)?

The Safety Regulation System (SRS) is the preferred method of communication between the Department and industry, and all forms of communication can be found under the single SRS umbrella. Before you can access SRS, you need to register to use the system. Once this is done, you will receive an account number which you will then use to access SRS.

Detailed information on registering online for SRS is available through the Quick Help Guide to SRS online registration.

Notifications and appointments

Registered Manager

Before operations begin at a mine, the principal employer must appoint a Registered Manager for the mine.

Notifying appointment of Registered Manager details the process of notifying the Department regarding the appointment of the Registered Manager.

Quarry Manager

Where quarry operations take place, the Principal Employer must appoint a Quarry Manager to take control of a quarry or sand pit. The Department should be notified by the Principal Employer or Registered Manager.

Notifying appointment of quarry manager for more details on notifying the Department regarding appointment of the Quarry Manager.

Alternate Quarry Manager

Where the Quarry Manager is subject to a commute schedule, an Alternate Quarry Manager must be appointed.

Notifying appointment of alternate quarry manager for more details on notifying the Department regarding appointment of the Underground Manager.

Deputy Quarry Manager and Deputy Alternative Quarry Manager

Where the Quarry Manager or Alternate Quarry Manager is absent from duties, a deputy must be appointed for the duration of the absence. There is no requirement for the Department to be informed, however the appointments need to be noted in the Mine Record Book.

Qualifications of a Quarry Manager

Statutory qualifications for Quarry Managers are prescribed in regulation 2.22. In addition, they need to be trained and assessed as competent to carry out the work. As a minimum, the Quarry Manager should be familiar with the MSI Act and regulations, the risk management approach and the hazards relevant to the operation, and have management and leadership skills.

Quarry Managers need to apply for a certificate of competency. The following forms and fact sheets will assist with applications.

Quarry manager

Quarry manager’s Law Past Exam Papers - 177 Kb

Examples of Quarry manager’s Law Past Exam Papers

Quarry manager’s certificate of competency - application form - 693 Kb

Quarry manager’s certificate of competency application form

Quarry manager’s certificate of competency - fact sheet - 236 Kb

This factsheet contains information on the requirements for the quarry manager's certificate of competency.

Restricted quarry manager

Restricted quarry manager’s Prac Past Exam Papers - 120 Kb

Restricted quarry manager’s Prac Past Exam Papers

Restricted quarry manager’s Law Past Exam Papers - 224 Kb

Restricted quarry manager’s Law Past Exam Papers

Restricted quarry manager certificate (explosives) - application form - 685 Kb

An application form for a restricted quarry manager certificate (explosives) certificate of competency

Restricted quarry manager’s (non exp) Prac Past Exam Papers - 106 Kb

Restricted quarry manager’s (non exp) Prac Past Exam Papers

Restricted quarry manager certificate (non-explosives) - application form - 684 Kb

An application form for a restricted quarry manager certificate (non-explosives)

Restricted quarry manager’s certificate of competency - fact sheet - 307 Kb

A fact sheet for a restricted quarry manager’s certificate of competency

Related application and notification forms

The Department has developed information sheets containing answers to

Frequently asked questions on appointments on Western Australian mines - information sheet - 350 Kb

This information sheet outlines the frequently asked questions on appointments on Western Australian mines.

Frequently asked questions on management and supervision at mining operations - information sheet - 277 Kb

This information sheet outlines the frequently asked questions on management and supervision at mining operations.

Operating a quarry without appointing a Quarry Manager

It is acknowledged that a small mine such as a sand or limestone operation does not have the same risk profile as large mines such as in the gold or iron ore sectors, and therefore an agreement may be sought from the District Inspector or State Mining Engineer to operate the mine without appointing a Quarry Manager. A pro forma is available below to help with the application process.

Application for agreement to operate a quarry operation without appointing a quarry manager - application form - 59 Kb

This pro-forma assists the person representing the principal employer to prepare the application to operate a quarry without appointing a quarry manager.

Recording information – Mine Record Book

A Mine Record Book (see sections 23 and 89 of the Act) is required to be kept at all mines in Western Australia. The record book is required to be a hard-covered book with ruled lines and its pages consecutively numbered. All entries should be made in ink, and dated and signed, with the name of the person making the entry clearly identified.

The Mine Record Book is used by the relevant company and mines inspectors for recording information such as:

  • details and results of an inspection by a mines inspector
  • details of improvement, prohibition and provisional improvement notices
  • statutory appointments and rosters, and other management appointments
  • details of incidents and accidents.

The Registered Manager or Quarry Manager is responsible for ensuring that any defects entered in the record book are rectified.

The Mine Record Book and other log books should be maintained for the duration of the mining operation and six years after its suspension or abandonment, as per section 89 of the Act. If the Principal Employer appears likely to go into liquidation or receivership, steps must be taken to ensure that such books are kept safely for that period.

Further information on mine record book requirements for mining operations is available.

Change of operating status

The District Inspector of Mines must be notified before an operation commences or recommences, or is suspended or closed. A letter template is available below to help with the notification process. The letter should be completed and sent to the District Inspector of Mines for acknowledgement and recording.

Notification of abandonment of mining operation - template - 33 Kb

This template is regarding the notification of abandonment of mining operation.

Notification of suspension of mining operation - template - 33 Kb

This template is regarding the notification of supension of mining operation.

Frequently asked questions on management and supervision at mining operations - information sheet - 277 Kb

This information sheet outlines the frequently asked questions on management and supervision at mining operations.

Notification of commencement of mining operation - template - 23 Kb

This template is regarding the notification of commencement of mining operation.

Guidance – duty of care

A variety of publications and other guidance material relating to mining safety and health is available in the mining safety and health publications section.

The following guidance material may be useful for understanding your duty of care.

Effective safety and health supervision in Western Australian mining operations - guideline - 1819 Kb

Effective safety and health supervision in Western Australian mining operations - guideline: This guideline highlights the importance of frontline supervision within workplace safety and health systems, and the role of management.

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.

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.

Guidance – managing safety

The small mines checklist available below will assist small mines when setting up a safe system of work. It is provided for general information only, and operators must develop their own site-specific risk assessment tools.

The audit tools below can be used to ensure the appropriate safety standards have been implemented and at regular intervals or when changes are made to confirm whether or not the management systems are still adequate.

Management systems for small mines – audit template - 42 Kb

This template is designed to assist industry conduct a management systems audit for small mines

Health and hygiene management plan - Levy exempt mines template – guide - November 2019 - 401 Kb

Health and hygiene management plan - Levy exempt mines template – guide - November 2019

Management systems for small mines – audit guide - 599 Kb

This audit guide provides information on the management systems for small mines audit

Effective safety and health supervision in Western Australian mining operations - guideline - 1819 Kb

Effective safety and health supervision in Western Australian mining operations - guideline: This guideline highlights the importance of frontline supervision within workplace safety and health systems, and the role of management.

Reporting incidents and accidents

Legally, an incident or accident at a small quarry or sand pit may need to be reported to the Department’s Mines Safety Directorate. For further information please see the mining accident and incidents section.

If the incident or accident involves explosives or dangerous goods, it may also need to be reported to the Department’s Dangerous Goods Directorate. For more information please see the dangerous goods accident and incidents section.

Further information on reporting requirements is available below.

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