When is a safety and health committee established?
The employer must establish a safety and health committee if instructed to do so by the State Mining Engineer, or requested by an employee at a mine. Of course, an employer can also establish a safety and health committee at a mine at any time without waiting for a request or instruction.
If the request comes from an employee, the employer must advise the employee and any safety and health representatives at the mine within 21 days that the request has been agreed to, or that the request has been referred to the State Mining Engineer for review.
Generally, the employer must establish the safety and health committee within three months. However, if matters cannot be agreed to meet this timeframe, the State Mining Engineer may grant an extension of time.
Who may be on the committee?
Membership of a safety and health committee is agreed between the employer, any safety and health representatives for the mine, and the employees’ delegates.
At least half of the committee must represent the workers and comprise safety and health representatives or employee delegates. Other members may include the employer and representatives, or any other members as agreed.
What if there is more than one mine in the group?
With the employer’s approval, a safety and health committee may have responsibility for more than one mine, with subcommittees being appointed at each mine site.
If the committee is to exercise its functions for more than one mine, then the safety and health representatives or workers selected to represent their workplaces must be invited to join the consulting parties to agree on whether the committee should cover all the mine sites in the group and, if so, how this will be done.
What if the committee is no longer needed?
Safety and health committees may be varied or abolished if they no longer suit the needs of the workplace. This may occur by written agreement between the employer and members of the committee.
The State Mining Engineer is empowered to arbitrate any matters that cannot be agreed upon, with the option for the State Mining Engineer’s decision to be reviewed by the Occupational Safety and Health Tribunal.
Below is the list of documents that you may find useful.