The Resources Regulator has focused the NSW mining and petroleum sectors on their compliance obligations during its state-wide blitz into issues ranging from work health and safety to mine site rehabilitation.
Eighty inspectors and regulatory officers from the safety, environment and compliance teams visited 109 mine and petroleum sites across the state last week in the largest operational deployment of personnel and resources ever conducted by the Resources Regulator.
The operation generally found good compliance with legislative obligations. However, a number of issues were identified at a small number of sites – in particular in relation to plant and equipment – resulting in 28 prohibition notices being issued at 12 sites.
A further 35 improvement notices and 33 notices of concern were issued in relation to WHS requirements, while eight potential breaches of the Mining Act were identified for investigation.
Resources Regulator’s Deputy Secretary Lee Shearer said the blitz had been successful after it identified appropriate compliance by mine and petroleum site operators, as well as issues ranging from work health and safety to mine site rehabilitation.
“Overall, standards being upheld by operators across the NSW mining industry were positive, with inspectors finding generally good compliance rates in relation to rehabilitation activities and work health and safety obligations,” Ms Shearer said.
“Unfortunately, there were a small number of operators who fell short of expectations and this was addressed by enforcement action.
“Mine operators need to remain vigilant and constantly review their operations to ensure compliance obligations are being met and workers are not exposed to risk. We take a zero-tolerance approach to operators failing to meet their requirements and will continue to undertake unannounced inspections and compliance operations to ensure this is the case.”
The compliance operation focused on the following key areas:
- roads and vehicle operating areas at large surface mines and underground metalliferous mines
- ground and strata failure in all underground mines
- safe operation of mobile plant at quarrying operations
- rehabilitation and dam monitoring.
The compliance operation saw inspectors and regulatory officers visit sites across the state including:
- Hunter Valley – 30
- South East – 17
- North West – 16
- Central West – 13
- Far West – 13
- Sydney region – 13
- North Coast – 6
- South West – 1