The NSW Resources Regulator produces regular reports on its activities in order to:

  • ensure a consistent and responsive regulatory approach
  • to provide increased transparency and confidence in its compliance and enforcement activities
  • promote voluntary compliance by industry

This approach is consistent with the NSW Government’s Quality Regulatory Services Initiative External link which promotes transparency and accountability in regulatory services and requires all regulators to regularly report on compliance activities.

Compliance priorities

Compliance Priorities reports, which set out our current priorities and focus areas, as well as the regulatory activities that will be undertaken to meet these identified areas of concern, are published for each upcoming period and can be accessed below:

Statewide compliance operation

The following report outlines the findings of a statewide compliance operation conducted from 28 May to 1 June 2018 that focused on the NSW mining and petroleum sectors compliance obligations on issues ranging from work, health and safety to mine site rehabilitation.

Compliance priorities outcomes July - December 2018

Drill rigs in metalliferous mines

Incident and injury statistics show that workers have suffered fatalities and serious injuries due to interactions with hazardous moving drill rig components. The risks associated with the operation of drill rigs in underground mines are of concern to the NSW Resources Regulator as workers carry out tasks within the movement zone of the machinery.

Surface vehicle interactions

Vehicle interactions continue to be a source of concern for the NSW Resources Regulator, due to the number of reported incidents related to vehicles. Positive communications failures are only one aspect that can give rise to collisions. Other causes include road design, surface conditions and entry into exclusion zones.

Ground and strata failure

A significant number of rib failures in coal underground mines have resulted in injuries to workers. Ground and strata failure is a principal mining hazard under the Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Regulation 2014 with a significant risk posed to workers from unplanned movement of ground.

Compliance priorities outcomes January - June 2018

Incident Reporting

A review of incident reporting data shows that the level of compliance regarding timeliness of reporting is less than satisfactory.  To address this, the Resources Regulator commenced an engagement strategy to ensure that all sectors of the industry are notified of their obligations to report incidents in accordance with legislative requirements. A redesigned poster that clearly identifies obligations relating to incidents or injuries has been sent to all mine operators along with a letter outlining the Resources Regulator’s approach to non-compliances with reporting obligations.

Hazardous Chemicals

The safe storage of hazardous chemicals at mine sites is of ongoing concern to WHS regulators in NSW. Regulatory activities have identified this is a complicated issue requiring collaboration and information sharing between key stakeholders. The NSW Resources Regulator continues to partner with SafeWork NSW to analyse chemical storage manifest data and best determine the extent of the issue, particularly as it relates to the NSW mining industry sector.

Several options are being examined and in consultation with industry, a plan is being devised on the most practical and effective way forward. This will be published at the completion of the development and consultation period.

Respirable Dust (airborne contaminants)

A recent resurgence in identified cases of coal worker pneumoconiosis and simple silicosis in the NSW mining industry have kept this issue an ongoing focus for the Resources Regulator. An extensive and state wide, targeted assessment program of work, has been ongoing since 2016. This issue remains a high priority and future assessment reports will be published as they are completed.

Consolidated reports can be found in the links below.

TAP Consolidated report - airborne contaminants in underground metalliferous mines [PDF, 170.3 KB] – January 2018

TAP consolidated report - Airborne contaminants - UG Metex [PDF, 187.57 KB] – July 2018

TAP consolidated report - Airborne contaminants (surface coal) interim report [PDF, 183.37 KB] -  August 2018

Hoists used in opal mining

A 2016 fatality highlighted design issues to do with hydraulic systems and operational failure stemming from improper maintenance.

A training and awareness raising program was developed and delivered by the Resources Regulators’ small mines team in 2017/18.

Safety management systems at small-scale mines and quarries

The Resources Regulator made a commitment to review and update the available support and guidance material for small-scale mines and quarries. These resources have been of genuine value to the smaller sectors of the industry for several years.

Two main publications to assist this sector are The Small Mines Safety Management Kit and the Health and Safety at Quarries Guide [PDF, 12960.26 KB]. Both have been reviewed and updated to bring them into line with current legislative requirements.

Coinciding with the publication of these resources the Resources Regulator ran a comprehensive education campaign to support mine operators in tailoring the requirements outlined in the guides to their specific operations. This was done via a series of workshops held across the state between October and December 2018.

Compliance priorities outcomes July - December 2017

Gas outburst

Following two longwall outburst events at a Colliery in late-2016 and again in early-2017, a targeted intervention program on gas outbursts was initiated in mid-2017.

Coal handling and preparation plants

A compliance inspection program of 46 coal handling facilities was undertaken in Mid-2017, focusing on structural integrity at coal handling and preparation plants (CHPPs).

Heat stress

Heat stress was identified as a significant risk and the regulator undertook a compliance inspection program targeting heat stress management plans at underground coal mines.

Lightning Ridge opal mining
Fires on mobile plant

Following a 2017 review of incident data that showed a consistently high number of fires occurring on mobile plant each month the regulator initiated a project to provide useful data to industry about fires on mobile plant; to review and update guidance material; and to prepare a long-term strategy with the aim of reducing the number of fires on mobile plant. This is an ongoing project.

A report, In-service fires on mobile plant, was presented at the Mechanical Engineering Safety Seminar in September 2017 that concluded that ‘there is a need to continue to improve the reliability of the fire protection characteristics of mining plant’.

A further outcome of this project was a commitment to publish quarterly data on fires on mobile plant.

Health control plan

From 1 February 2017 mine and petroleum site operators have an obligation to develop and implement a health control plan. The regulator undertook an awareness campaign on health control plans and developed new tools and guidance to assist operators in developing their plans.

Methods of working and control of bench heights

There have been a number of incidents at mines in which rocks have fallen from  blasted quarry faces and stockpiles onto loaders and excavators, resulting in damage to equipment and injury to machine operators. The regulator worked with industry to develop improved guidance for methods of working and control of bench heights. The guidance material will be published in July 2018.

Plant used in the hazardous zone

Following identification of a number of instances whereby electrical plant manufactured and supplied for use, and in use, at underground coal mines had not complied with the issued certificate of conformity the regulator conducted a workshop for industry participants to promote awareness and improve compliance.

For further information
NSW Resources Regulator
1300 814 609
PO Box 344 Hunter Region Mail Centre NSW 2310
516 High Street Maitland NSW 2320 Map