The Work Health and Safety (Mines) Regulations 2022 create a duty for the mine operator to establish and implement a mine safety management system (MSMS). The MSMS is the primary means of ensuring safe operations by providing direction to everyone at a mine site. It must be in place before mining operations commence and also applies to exploration operations.
To assist mine operators to establish and implement an MSMS, WorkSafe Mines Safety has published the Code of practice: Mine Safety Management Systems.
Following extensive industry consultation and public comment, the MSMS code of practice has been approved by the Minister for Mines and Petroleum and endorsed by both the Mining Industry Advisory Committee (MIAC) and the Work Health and Safety Commission (WHSC).
MIAC Chair and Chief Inspector of Mines Christina Folley, said that while most mining operations will have health and safety-related policies, plans and processes in place, the MSMS ties all these elements together into an integrated system.
“The MSMS enables persons conducting a business or undertaking to ensure there are no gaps in the management of all health and safety risks and that all of the elements work in a coordinated way”
The code has been developed based upon the publications Code of Practice: Safety management systems in mines and Guide: Preparing a principal mining hazard management plan, produced by the NSW Resources Regulator.
Through ongoing consultation with workers, the MSMS identifies the outcomes that a mining operation must achieve, rather than creating a set of prescriptive rules to be followed. It recognises that no two operations are the same and that hazards will vary from site to site.