Queensland’s 66,000 resources workers will soon have their own independent health and safety regulator after Queensland Parliament placed its support behind the move this week. The new regulator, Resources Safety and Health Queensland (‘RSHQ’), is a product of the Resources Safety and Health Queensland Bill 2019 (Qld) and will become operational on 1 July 2020.

The move comes in response to the increased scrutiny of Queensland’s mining industry in recent years. Two independent health and safety reviews into Queensland mines and quarries began after the state recorded its sixth fatality in a 12-month period last year. The RSHQ will regulate the safety and health of the state’s minerals, coal, petroleum and gas, quarry, small scale mining and explosives workers. It will comprise of:

  • almost 90 inspectors of coal mines, mineral mines and quarries, explosives and petroleum and gas.
  • Queensland’s Safety in Mines Testing and Research Station, Simtars, and the Coal Mine Workers’ Health Scheme.
  • the latest Government policy and procedure changes in the coming years for future mine safety and health reforms.

Those ‘reforms’ include:

  • legislation currently before the House creating the offence of industrial manslaughter, bringing resources workplaces in line with all other Queensland workplaces.
  • better detection and prevention of black lung, and an improved safety net for affected workers.
  • increased maximum penalties for offences to $4 million and powers for the regulator to issue fines without going to court.
  • statewide safety reset sessions for mine and quarry workers to refocus on health and safety.
  • $35 million to deliver reforms to improve the safety and health of mine workers.
  • a commitment to tighter controls on mine dust levels.
  • extra mines inspectors to be employed and trained.

The Work Health and Safety Experts can assist Queensland operations with ensuring their compliance with the updated Work Health and Safety Act. Our health and safety consultants, environmental technicians and quality assurance personnel are experienced in regulatory compliance auditing. Please contact us directly for further information.