SafeWork South Australia has announced that effective from 2021, it will introduce additional mine manager competency requirements for quarry professionals.
At the beginning of December 2020, SafeWork SA issued a gazette notice advising that under Regulation 615A(5)(a) of the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (SA), a person will be competent to be a mine manager of a quarry with 20 or more workers if he/she has satisfied the mine operator that they have fulfilled the requirements under Regulation 615A(9)(a).
To be a certified quarry manager, the person will also be required to have a degree in mining engineering or a diploma in surface operations management from an Australian university or tertiary institution (or equivalent institution as determined by the regulator). They will also have at least three years of practical experience in quarrying, including one year of operational experience, and the experience of supervising a quarrying operation.
The Work Health and Safety (Mine Manager) Variation Regulations 2020 (aka the “Mine Managers Regulations”) will take effect as of 1 January, 2021.
SafeWork SA will consequently have jurisdiction in relation to the mine manager competency requirements. The SA Department of Energy & Mining (at time of writing) oversees the legislation covering mine manager competencies.
Andrew Dunlevy, the policy and governance manager of SafeWork SA, told Quarry the statutory body is drafting guidance material to assist quarry operators to better understand their requirements under the Mine Manager Regulations.
This information is being communicated via web-based platforms and a mailout ahead of the introduction of the Mine Manager Regulations on 1 January.
“Essentially, [the Mine Manager Regulations are] for the person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) to determine whether a particular mine manager is competent to be the mine manager based on their ability to perform specified duties based on knowledge, training and experience,” Dunlevy said.
“Regulation 615A requires that certain mine operators appoint a competent person to be a mine manager. A mine operator covered by the regulation who fails to do this commits an offence.”
Under the Mine Manager Regulations, the mine operator also cannot appoint an individual as a mine manager if that person is already managing another mine (although an exemption may be granted by the regulator in certain circumstances that permits a mine operator to appoint a mine manager to multiple sites).
Dunlevy said that SafeWork SA has been communicating with numerous stakeholders in the South Australian extractive industry, including the IQA.
“The IQA and other stakeholders have provided detailed comments and submissions which have assisted SafeWork SA in ensuring that communications are targeted at the areas of greatest confusion and concern,” Dunlevy said.
“I am grateful for the input of the IQA and Cement Concrete & Aggregates Australia (CCAA) and their offers to extend the reach of SafeWork SA’s communications through their membership and communication lists.”
Dunlevy said that SafeWork SA will not undertake an audit campaign of South Australian quarries to coincide with the implementation date of the Mine Managers Regulations. However, mine inspectors do reserve the right under Sections 163 and 164 of the Work Health & Safety Act 2012 (SA) to enter sites at any time without prior notice to investigate conditions.
More information about the Mine Manager Regulations and other recently gazetted mining regulations can be found at the SA Department of Energy and Mining website.