Under the various legislation administered by the Resources Regulator, government officials and statutory compliance positions are referred to as ‘inspectors’, ‘mine safety officers’ or ‘investigators’. For the purpose of this section, the term inspector applies to any of these positions.
Inspectors are appointed to undertake regulatory activities under the following pieces of legislation:
- Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum) Act 2013
- Explosives Act 2003
- Mining Act 1992
- Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991
Inspectors will identify themselves when visiting a site, including producing formal photo identification on request. Identification cards also include information in relation to the legislation under which that inspector is appointed.
Inspectors will identify themselves when visiting a site, including producing formal identification on request.
Role of inspectors
Inspectors’ functions include:
- investigating non-compliance, including systemic and emerging issues and trends, stakeholder liaison, and evaluating and reviewing compliance activities
- assisting in the prosecution of offences
- undertaking a range of enforcement activities including inspections and audits, issuing regulatory notices, and delivering authoritative advice to industry
- collaborating with other agencies and departmental branches to support a whole-of-government approach
- promoting increased awareness of obligations and positive compliance behaviours across industry through training, communication, educating, licensing and verification of controls
- to provide information and advice
- to require compliance through the issuing of notices
- notifying mine and petroleum site operators of safety concerns
- to help resolve:
work health and safety issues at workplaces, and
issues related to the exercise or purported exercise of a right of entry under Part 7 of the WHS Act
issues related to access to a workplace by an assistant to a health and safety representative, and
- to review disputed provisional improvement notices issued by Health and Safety Representatives
- to attend coronial inquests in relation to work-related deaths and examine witnesses.
Mining Act specific
- assessing, determining and regulating exploration activity approvals
- ensuring compliance of exploration and mining operations with the provisions of the Mining Act and the conditions of titles
- conducting probity and compliance checks on applicants for the grant/renewal/transfer of exploration licences, assessment leases and mining leases
- determining the amount of the rehabilitation security deposit that title holders are required to provide to government
- providing advice to development consent authorities regarding the appropriateness of rehabilitation strategies included in mining approvals
- ensuring rehabilitation is carried out progressively, that is, as soon as reasonably practicable following disturbance
- ensuring rehabilitation achieves the approved rehabilitation objectives, rehabilitation completion criteria and final land use
- monitoring and enforcing rehabilitation activities to ensure that exploration and mining-affected land is left in a safe and stable condition.
Inspectors have certain regulatory powers when visiting a regulated site. They may:
- enter a premise which is a mine or petroleum site, or one they reasonably suspect may be operating as a mine or petroleum site
- conduct interviews and make inquiries
- examine and inspect any works, plants or vehicles
- take photographs, video or other recordings, measurements and samples
- gather, examine and copy documents or require records to be produced for inspection
- secure or seize evidence
In carrying out their duties, inspectors may request reasonable assistance when exercising any powers under relevant legislation or have a person accompany the inspector in exercising their functions including the engagement of technical experts.
It is an offence to hinder, obstruct, assault, threaten, intimidate an inspector or a person assisting an inspector
What is expected of you?
To assist the inspection or investigation process it is requested that you:
- be honest, courteous and provide information as requested
- provide necessary and timely access to the mine or petroleum site
- provide reasonable help to assist the inspector in their work
- not conceal the existence of a location, person, plant, substance or thing.
Site entry requirements
Inspectors at all times operate under the safety management system of the Resources Regulator, and not the relevant site. This is because sites cannot direct or control the activities of an inspector, including imposing conditions of entry (unlike an ordinary visitor). Sites are therefore not responsible for the health and safety of the inspector.
Any conditions placed on an inspector that may prevent the exercise of statutory powers, including entry to site, are invalid and may constitute an offence. Site-specific policies and procedures cannot limit the powers given to an inspector under statute. For example, an inspector cannot be prohibited from attending any part of the workplace/mine site, taking photographs and recordings, conducting tests, taking measurements or removing samples.
Inspectors will generally conduct themselves in accordance with relevant workplace safety policies and procedures in order to assist in managing their own health and safety – but do so at their own discretion.
- Supply their own general personal protective equipment
- Sign in, use tag boards or other tracking systems in order to help identify their whereabouts (provided that by doing so they do not have to agree to any conditions or directions)
- Follow site procedures except where in by doing so it would restrict the exercise of their regulatory functions
Inspectors will not:
- Sign any document (including sign in registers) that indicates (or implies) that they agree or acknowledge that they are subject to the control or direction of the site
- Submit to drug or alcohol testing
- Submit to other site worker requirements such as a clean shaven policy
- Comply with site requirements which restrict the exercise of their statutory functions.
Inspectors exercising regulatory functions at a site operate under the safety management system (SMS) of the Resources Regulator at all times - and not the SMS of the relevant site
Conduct of inspectors
Inspectors are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner always and in accordance with the NSW public sector values of integrity, trust, service and accountability. This includes:
- treating people with respect, dignity, and sensitivity in all circumstances
- interacting with people in a timely and efficient manner
- remaining professional and consistent in all of their dealings
- undertaking activities without favouritism or discrimination
- explaining decisions and actions
Any concerns regarding the conduct of an inspector should be immediately raised with the inspector’s manager or Principal Inspector. Refer to our organisational chart to identify relevant contacts.
Alternatively you can email any concerns to the Resources Regulator Integrity unit at firstname.lastname@example.org