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Industry feedback invited for quarry safety reform

The Western Australian Government has entered the second stage of a three-stage consultation process as part of its move to modernise the state’s safety legislation and make it more consistent across industries and between jurisdictions.

The proposed Work Health and Safety (Resources) Act, which was announced in August last year, would consolidate the state’s mining, petroleum and major hazard facilities safety legislation, which also encompasses the extractive industries.

“In 2014, the first stage looked at the structure of the current legislation and recommended consolidating the safety requirements from six different acts into one act,” WA Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) resources safety executive director Simon Ridge stated. “This year, we are consulting on the modernised and consolidated act, the Work Health and Safety (Resources) Bill. Next year, we will consult on the regulations.”

According to the DMP, the resources industry is starting to transition towards a risk-based approach to safety, which is why the state government is seeking to make its legislation “less prescriptive and more adaptable to change”.

“Each industry sector presents its own risks and safety requirements,” Ridge said. “However, there are many common elements. The new bill, based on the model legislation used nationally, should deliver improved consistency between industry sectors, as well as with the Commonwealth, while still including industry-specific provisions in the regulations.”

When Quarry spoke with WA Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) senior inspector of mines Anil Atri in August last year about what the proposed legislative changes would mean for the quarrying industry, Atri indicated they would place more responsibility on quarry operators to manage risks and hazards on their work sites.

“We want all mine operators, including those who operate quarries, to have a comprehensive safety management system and manage their hazards and health and safety risks accordingly,” he said at the time.

The DMP is accepting submissions on the proposed legislation through Marsden Jacob Associates until 14 August, 2015. A stakeholder forum will also be held in Perth on 23 July.

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