The NSW Resources Regulator has implemented a response plan to manage the risk of COVID-19 transmission. This plan is consistent with the advice from NSW Health and the broader NSW government approach and takes into account the specific considerations which reflect our operational model.

Please refer to the table below for information on each of our services and activities.

Your obligations

  • Under NSW WHS laws, employers must have measures in place to eliminate or manage the risks arising from COVID-19.
  • You will not be able to completely eliminate the risk of workers contracting COVID-19 while carrying out work. However, you must do all that is reasonably practicable to minimise that risk.
  • To do this, you should keep up to date with the latest COVID-19 information and advice to ensure that any action taken is appropriate. This includes closely monitoring the information provided by the NSW Health and the Australian Government.
  • A number of organisations have developed additional resources to assist the industry and identify key controls that are reasonably practicable for operators to implement. Where operators have not adopted these controls, the Regulator expects to see evidence of risk assessments being carried out and suitable alternative controls adopted.

Mine operators should review and adopt (where relevant) the following guidance material:

Regulatory obligations/Compliance issues

  • We understand that as the COVID-19 situation progresses some operators may experience increasing difficulties in meeting some regulatory obligations.
  • If you are anticipating or experiencing issues with complying with your regulatory obligations, please contact us as soon as you become aware.
  • We will take a reasonable and pragmatic approach to issues as they arise - provided that worker safety is not compromised.

Service and activity status

Incident and non-compliance reports

Safety and environmental incident reporting continue unaffected.

Operators should continue to report safety and non-compliance issues via normal online and telephone 1300 814 609 reporting methods.

High Risk Activity notifications

The Regulator will continue to receive and review HRA notifications via normal online submission.

Mining Act applications and approvals

Mining Act applications such as exploration activity approvals and mining operations plans are being actioned as normal.

Exams for certificates of competence

All oral and written exams have been postponed and will be rescheduled.

Consultation sessions for the review of WHS (MPS) laws

The Regulator will deliver these sessions via videoconferencing. Details will be provided following registration.

Submission dates for consultation feedback has been extended to 1 May 2020.

Maintenance of competence learning during the COVID-19 restrictions?

Many maintenance of competence learning opportunities, such as conferences, seminars, and training courses, have been cancelled because of the COVID-19 restrictions. To offset these impacts, dispensation will be provided to practice certificate holders in relation to the quantum of learning hours required to be accumulated during this period.

We will provide further information on the extent and nature of the dispensation when all COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed.

Mineral Claims Safety Courses for Lightning Ridge and White Cliffs

All planned courses have been postponed. We are working on plans to deliver these courses via internet-based learning modules and videoconferencing or pre-recorded video training sessions.

Planned inspections

Our inspectors are still carrying out safety inspections of mine sites.

Additional controls have been implemented to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19 virus and inspectors will discuss arrangements for their visit with mine operators before attending a site.

Resources Regulator response to safety incidents

Our inspectors and investigators will continue to respond to significant safety incidents

Inspection protocols have been implemented to manage the risk of COVID-19

Mine Safety Technology Centre

The MSTC is still operating however any field activities will be at the discretion of the MSTC Manager following a risk assessment.

Learning from Disasters training

An exemption to the requirement for face-to-face training has been put in place and approved training providers may deliver the course via videoconferencing.

Industry engagement activities

All face-to-face industry engagement activities (which the exception of inspections) have been suspended. Where feasible, engagement activities have been moved to video conferencing and online platforms.

Coal Services Order 43 Health Monitoring

We note that Coal Services has suspended a number of services that may affect mine operators’ ability to comply with Order 43. In this respect, requirements under the Coal Industry Act 2001 (including Order 43) are administered and enforced by Coal Services.

Regardless, mine operators should review their health control plans and where they are unable to meet the requirements of Order 43 undertake a detailed risk assessment and implement alternate controls where appropriate.

Airborne Dust Sampling

All mine operators have an obligation to ensure that workers are not exposed to airborne dust concentrations that exceed the prescribed exposure standards. Sampling is an essential control in meeting this obligation.

Mine operators must engage proactively with service providers to verify that sampling services are available, and that these services can be provided safely in consideration of COVID-19 risks. The Regulator understands that there are still service providers continuing these services, as such, waivers or exemptions will not be considered

In addition, coal mine operators have obligations under clause 86 of the WHS (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Regulation to undertake airborne dust sampling. Mine operators must be proactive in engaging with service providers to ensure that compliance with this obligation is maintained. Note that service providers must be licenced in accordance with clause 152 of the Regulation.