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Investigation Unit

Major Safety Investigations

What we investigate

Major Safety Investigations is a unit of the Resources Regulator which investigates serious work health and safety incidents at mines, quarries and petroleum sites. Investigators attached to the unit are appointed under work health and safety legislation. Mine safety investigators examine a broad range of matters including:

incidents which result in or have the potential to result in death or serious injury

  • priority matters such as non-compliance with inspector notices, offences against inspectors and failure to notify incidents
  • allegations of bullying and harassment
  • other complex matters.

Our investigations

The aim of our investigations is to determine the cause and circumstances of an incident. This often requires us to look beyond the incident itself and examine the practices and systems in effect at the workplace where the incident occurred, including:

  • machinery and equipment design, manufacture and supply
  • work systems and procedures
  • maintenance practices and records
  • training practices generally
  • supervision arrangements
  • provision of information and instructions
  • risk management
  • contractor management.

How we obtain information

Major safety investigators use a variety of methods to obtain information, including:

  • examining and making recordings of workplaces where incidents occur
  • inspecting and copying records
  • interviewing people at workplaces and other locations
  • issuing notices to relevant parties under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 requiring the provision of information and records.

Investigation outcomes

Our investigation findings are documented in investigation reports which are published on the Investigation reports page. These investigation reports and accompanying animations provide industry with information about important learnings from an incident, thereby increasing safety awareness and encouraging existing practices to be reviewed. Our investigation reports are also assessed by the Resources Regulator’s governance panels to determine what enforcement action, if any, should be taken in relation to the incident. Further information about our enforcement action is contained in our compliance and enforcement approach. (PDF, 537.75 KB)

Enforcement approach

The enforcement approach (PDF, 537.75 KB) [PDF, 362.81 KB] concerns the enforcement functions of the department relevant to health and safety in mines and addresses related issues.

Investigation reports

Investigation reports are issued for serious incidents in the NSW mining industry once a major investigation is finalised.

WHS undertakings

When an alleged contravention of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 has occurred, the department may accept a Work Health and Safety (WHS) undertaking instead of initiating a prosecution.